Pretraining in Deep Reinforcement Learning: A Survey

by   Zhihui Xie, et al.
Shanghai Jiao Tong University

The past few years have seen rapid progress in combining reinforcement learning (RL) with deep learning. Various breakthroughs ranging from games to robotics have spurred the interest in designing sophisticated RL algorithms and systems. However, the prevailing workflow in RL is to learn tabula rasa, which may incur computational inefficiency. This precludes continuous deployment of RL algorithms and potentially excludes researchers without large-scale computing resources. In many other areas of machine learning, the pretraining paradigm has shown to be effective in acquiring transferable knowledge, which can be utilized for a variety of downstream tasks. Recently, we saw a surge of interest in Pretraining for Deep RL with promising results. However, much of the research has been based on different experimental settings. Due to the nature of RL, pretraining in this field is faced with unique challenges and hence requires new design principles. In this survey, we seek to systematically review existing works in pretraining for deep reinforcement learning, provide a taxonomy of these methods, discuss each sub-field, and bring attention to open problems and future directions.


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