A Narration-based Reward Shaping Approach using Grounded Natural Language Commands

10/31/2019 ∙ by Nicholas Waytowich, et al. ∙ 15

While deep reinforcement learning techniques have led to agents that are successfully able to learn to perform a number of tasks that had been previously unlearnable, these techniques are still susceptible to the longstanding problem of reward sparsity. This is especially true for tasks such as training an agent to play StarCraft II, a real-time strategy game where reward is only given at the end of a game which is usually very long. While this problem can be addressed through reward shaping, such approaches typically require a human expert with specialized knowledge. Inspired by the vision of enabling reward shaping through the more-accessible paradigm of natural-language narration, we develop a technique that can provide the benefits of reward shaping using natural language commands. Our narration-guided RL agent projects sequences of natural-language commands into the same high-dimensional representation space as corresponding goal states. We show that we can get improved performance with our method compared to traditional reward-shaping approaches. Additionally, we demonstrate the ability of our method to generalize to unseen natural-language commands.



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