Adversarial Imitation Learning via Boosting

12 Apr 2024  ·  Jonathan D. Chang, Dhruv Sreenivas, Yingbing Huang, Kianté Brantley, Wen Sun ·

Adversarial imitation learning (AIL) has stood out as a dominant framework across various imitation learning (IL) applications, with Discriminator Actor Critic (DAC) (Kostrikov et al.,, 2019) demonstrating the effectiveness of off-policy learning algorithms in improving sample efficiency and scalability to higher-dimensional observations. Despite DAC's empirical success, the original AIL objective is on-policy and DAC's ad-hoc application of off-policy training does not guarantee successful imitation (Kostrikov et al., 2019; 2020). Follow-up work such as ValueDICE (Kostrikov et al., 2020) tackles this issue by deriving a fully off-policy AIL objective. Instead in this work, we develop a novel and principled AIL algorithm via the framework of boosting. Like boosting, our new algorithm, AILBoost, maintains an ensemble of properly weighted weak learners (i.e., policies) and trains a discriminator that witnesses the maximum discrepancy between the distributions of the ensemble and the expert policy. We maintain a weighted replay buffer to represent the state-action distribution induced by the ensemble, allowing us to train discriminators using the entire data collected so far. In the weighted replay buffer, the contribution of the data from older policies are properly discounted with the weight computed based on the boosting framework. Empirically, we evaluate our algorithm on both controller state-based and pixel-based environments from the DeepMind Control Suite. AILBoost outperforms DAC on both types of environments, demonstrating the benefit of properly weighting replay buffer data for off-policy training. On state-based environments, DAC outperforms ValueDICE and IQ-Learn (Gary et al., 2021), achieving competitive performance with as little as one expert trajectory.

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