Exploration in Deep Reinforcement Learning: From Single-Agent to Multiagent Domain

14 Sep 2021  ·  Jianye Hao, Tianpei Yang, Hongyao Tang, Chenjia Bai, Jinyi Liu, Zhaopeng Meng, Peng Liu, Zhen Wang ·

Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) and Deep Multi-agent Reinforcement Learning (MARL) have achieved significant successes across a wide range of domains, including game AI, autonomous vehicles, robotics, and so on. However, DRL and deep MARL agents are widely known to be sample inefficient that millions of interactions are usually needed even for relatively simple problem settings, thus preventing the wide application and deployment in real-industry scenarios. One bottleneck challenge behind is the well-known exploration problem, i.e., how efficiently exploring the environment and collecting informative experiences that could benefit policy learning towards the optimal ones. This problem becomes more challenging in complex environments with sparse rewards, noisy distractions, long horizons, and non-stationary co-learners. In this paper, we conduct a comprehensive survey on existing exploration methods for both single-agent and multi-agent RL. We start the survey by identifying several key challenges to efficient exploration. Beyond the above two main branches, we also include other notable exploration methods with different ideas and techniques. In addition to algorithmic analysis, we provide a comprehensive and unified empirical comparison of different exploration methods for DRL on a set of commonly used benchmarks. According to our algorithmic and empirical investigation, we finally summarize the open problems of exploration in DRL and deep MARL and point out a few future directions.

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