Exploring Unknown States with Action Balance

03/10/2020 ∙ by Yan Song, et al. ∙ 0

Exploration is a key problem in reinforcement learning. Recently bonus-based methods have achieved considerable successes in environments where exploration is difficult such as Montezuma's Revenge, which assign additional bonus (e.g., intrinsic reward) to guide the agent to rarely visited states. Since the bonus is calculated according to the novelty of the next state after performing an action, we call such methods the next-state bonus methods. However, the next-state bonus methods bring extra issues. It may lead agent to be trapped in states that fewer being visited and ignore to explore unknown states. Moreover, the behavior policy of the agent is also influenced by the bonus added to the state (or state-action) values indirectly. In contrast to the bonus-based methods which explore in known states, in this paper, we focus on the other part of exploration: exploration for finding unknown states. We propose the action balance exploration method to overcome the defects of the next-state bonus methods, which balances the chosen time of each action in each state and can be treated as an extension of upper confidence bound (UCB) to deep reinforcement learning. To take both the advantages of the next-state bonus method and our action balance exploration method, we propose the action balance RND method, which takes both parts of exploration into consideration. The experiments on grid world and Atari games demonstrate action balance exploration has a better capability in finding unknown states and can improve the real performance of RND in some hard exploration environments respectively.



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