Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning in StarCraft II with Human Expertise in Subgoals Selection

8 Aug 2020  ·  Xinyi Xu, Tiancheng Huang, Pengfei Wei, Akshay Narayan, Tze-Yun Leong ·

This work is inspired by recent advances in hierarchical reinforcement learning (HRL) (Barto and Mahadevan 2003; Hengst 2010), and improvements in learning efficiency from heuristic-based subgoal selection, experience replay (Lin 1993; Andrychowicz et al. 2017), and task-based curriculum learning (Bengio et al. 2009; Zaremba and Sutskever 2014). We propose a new method to integrate HRL, experience replay and effective subgoal selection through an implicit curriculum design based on human expertise to support sample-efficient learning and enhance interpretability of the agent's behavior. Human expertise remains indispensable in many areas such as medicine (Buch, Ahmed, and Maruthappu 2018) and law (Cath 2018), where interpretability, explainability and transparency are crucial in the decision making process, for ethical and legal reasons. Our method simplifies the complex task sets for achieving the overall objectives by decomposing them into subgoals at different levels of abstraction. Incorporating relevant subjective knowledge also significantly reduces the computational resources spent in exploration for RL, especially in high speed, changing, and complex environments where the transition dynamics cannot be effectively learned and modelled in a short time. Experimental results in two StarCraft II (SC2) (Vinyals et al. 2017) minigames demonstrate that our method can achieve better sample efficiency than flat and end-to-end RL methods, and provides an effective method for explaining the agent's performance.

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