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Workshop: Deep Reinforcement Learning

Wasserstein Distance Maximizing Intrinsic Control

Ishan Durugkar · Steven Hansen · Stephen Spencer · Volodymyr Mnih · Ishan Durugkar


This paper deals with the problem of learning a skill-conditioned policy that acts meaningfully in the absence of a reward signal. Mutual information based objectives have shown some success in learning skills that reach a diverse set of states in this setting. These objectives include a KL-divergence term, which is maximized by visiting distinct states even if those states are not far apart in the MDP. This paper presents an approach that rewards the agent for learning skills that maximize the Wasserstein distance of their state visitation from the start state of the skill. It shows that such an objective leads to a policy that covers more distance in the MDP than diversity based objectives, and validates the results on a variety of Atari environments.

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