Imitation Bootstrapped Reinforcement Learning.


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Despite the considerable potential of reinforcement learning (RL), robotics control tasks predominantly rely on imitation learning (IL) owing to its better sample efficiency. However, given the high cost of collecting extensive demonstrations, RL is still appealing if it can utilize limited imitation data for efficient autonomous self-improvement. Existing RL methods that utilize demonstrations either initialize the replay buffer with demonstrations and oversample them during RL training, which does not benefit from the generalization potential of modern IL methods, or pretrain the RL policy with IL on the demonstrations, which requires additional mechanisms to prevent catastrophic forgetting during RL fine-tuning. We propose imitation bootstrapped reinforcement learning (IBRL), a novel framework that first trains an IL policy on a limited number of demonstrations and then uses it to propose alternative actions for both online exploration and target value bootstrapping. IBRL achieves SoTA performance and sample efficiency on 7 challenging sparse reward continuous control tasks in simulation while learning directly from pixels. As a highlight of our method, IBRL achieves $6.4\times$ higher success rate than RLPD, a strong method that combines the idea of oversampling demonstrations with modern RL improvements, under the budget of 10 demos and 100K interactions in the challenging PickPlaceCan task in the Robomimic benchmark.
reinforcement learning
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