Planning from Images with Deep Latent Gaussian Process Dynamics

Planning is a powerful approach to control problems with known environment dynamics. In unknown environments the agent needs to learn a model of the system dynamics to make planning applicable. This is particularly challenging when the underlying states are only indirectly observable through images. We propose to learn a deep latent Gaussian process dynamics (DLGPD) model that learns low-dimensional system dynamics from environment interactions with visual observations. The method infers latent state representations from observations using neural networks and models the system dynamics in the learned latent space with Gaussian processes. All parts of the model can be trained jointly by optimizing a lower bound on the likelihood of transitions in image space. We evaluate the proposed approach on the pendulum swing-up task while using the learned dynamics model for planning in latent space in order to solve the control problem. We also demonstrate that our method can quickly adapt a trained agent to changes in the system dynamics from just a few rollouts. We compare our approach to a state-of-the-art purely deep learning based method and demonstrate the advantages of combining Gaussian processes with deep learning for data efficiency and transfer learning.

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