Neighborhood Mixup Experience Replay: Local Convex Interpolation for Improved Sample Efficiency in Continuous Control Tasks

18 May 2022  ·  Ryan Sander, Wilko Schwarting, Tim Seyde, Igor Gilitschenski, Sertac Karaman, Daniela Rus ·

Experience replay plays a crucial role in improving the sample efficiency of deep reinforcement learning agents. Recent advances in experience replay propose using Mixup (Zhang et al., 2018) to further improve sample efficiency via synthetic sample generation. We build upon this technique with Neighborhood Mixup Experience Replay (NMER), a geometrically-grounded replay buffer that interpolates transitions with their closest neighbors in state-action space. NMER preserves a locally linear approximation of the transition manifold by only applying Mixup between transitions with vicinal state-action features. Under NMER, a given transition's set of state action neighbors is dynamic and episode agnostic, in turn encouraging greater policy generalizability via inter-episode interpolation. We combine our approach with recent off-policy deep reinforcement learning algorithms and evaluate on continuous control environments. We observe that NMER improves sample efficiency by an average 94% (TD3) and 29% (SAC) over baseline replay buffers, enabling agents to effectively recombine previous experiences and learn from limited data.

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