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A Policy-Guided Imitation Approach for Offline Reinforcement Learning
Haoran Xu · Li Jiang · Li Jianxiong · Xianyuan Zhan


Offline reinforcement learning (RL) methods can generally be categorized into two types: RL-based and Imitation-based. RL-based methods could in principle enjoy out-of-distribution generalization but suffer from erroneous off-policy evaluation. Imitation-based methods avoid off-policy evaluation but are too conservative to surpass the dataset. In this study, we propose an alternative approach, inheriting the training stability of imitation-style methods while still allowing logical out-of-distribution generalization. We decompose the conventional reward-maximizing policy in offline RL into a guide-policy and an execute-policy. During training, the guide-poicy and execute-policy are learned using only data from the dataset, in a supervised and decoupled manner. During evaluation, the guide-policy guides the execute-policy by telling where it should go so that the reward can be maximized, serving as the \textit{Prophet}. By doing so, our algorithm allows \textit{state-compositionality} from the dataset, rather than \textit{action-compositionality} conducted in prior imitation-style methods. We dumb this new approach Policy-guided Offline RL (\texttt{POR}). \texttt{POR} demonstrates the state-of-the-art performance on D4RL, a standard benchmark for offline RL. We also highlight the benefits of \texttt{POR} in terms of improving with supplementary suboptimal data and easily adapting to new tasks by only changing the guide-poicy.

Author Information

Haoran Xu (JD Technology)
Li Jiang (Tsinghua University)
Li Jianxiong (Tsinghua University)
Xianyuan Zhan (Tsinghua University, Tsinghua University)

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