Improving Offline-to-Online Reinforcement Learning with Q-Ensembles

12 Jun 2023  ·  Kai Zhao, Yi Ma, Jianye Hao, Jinyi Liu, Yan Zheng, Zhaopeng Meng ·

Offline reinforcement learning (RL) is a learning paradigm where an agent learns from a fixed dataset of experience. However, learning solely from a static dataset can limit the performance due to the lack of exploration. To overcome it, offline-to-online RL combines offline pre-training with online fine-tuning, which enables the agent to further refine its policy by interacting with the environment in real-time. Despite its benefits, existing offline-to-online RL methods suffer from performance degradation and slow improvement during the online phase. To tackle these challenges, we propose a novel framework called Ensemble-based Offline-to-Online (E2O) RL. By increasing the number of Q-networks, we seamlessly bridge offline pre-training and online fine-tuning without degrading performance. Moreover, to expedite online performance enhancement, we appropriately loosen the pessimism of Q-value estimation and incorporate ensemble-based exploration mechanisms into our framework. Experimental results demonstrate that E2O can substantially improve the training stability, learning efficiency, and final performance of existing offline RL methods during online fine-tuning on a range of locomotion and navigation tasks, significantly outperforming existing offline-to-online RL methods.

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