Adaptive Trust Region Policy Optimization: Global Convergence and Faster Rates for Regularized MDPs

by   Lior Shani, et al.

Trust region policy optimization (TRPO) is a popular and empirically successful policy search algorithm in Reinforcement Learning (RL) in which a surrogate problem, that restricts consecutive policies to be `close' to one another, is iteratively solved. Nevertheless, TRPO has been considered a heuristic algorithm inspired by Conservative Policy Iteration (CPI). We show that the adaptive scaling mechanism used in TRPO is in fact the natural "RL version" of traditional trust-region methods from convex analysis. We first analyze TRPO in the planning setting, in which we have access to the model and the entire state space. Then, we consider sample-based TRPO and establish Õ(1/√(N)) convergence rate to the global optimum. Importantly, the adaptive scaling mechanism allows us to analyze TRPO in regularized MDPs for which we prove fast rates of Õ(1/N), much like results in convex optimization. This is the first result in RL of better rates when regularizing the instantaneous cost or reward.



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