Proximal Policy Gradient Arborescence for Quality Diversity Reinforcement Learning

Training generally capable agents that perform well in unseen dynamic environments is a long-term goal of robot learning. Quality Diversity Reinforcement Learning (QD-RL) is an emerging class of reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms that blend insights from Quality Diversity (QD) and RL to produce a collection of high performing and behaviorally diverse policies with respect to a behavioral embedding. Existing QD-RL approaches have thus far taken advantage of sample-efficient off-policy RL algorithms. However, recent advances in high-throughput, massively parallelized robotic simulators have opened the door for algorithms that can take advantage of such parallelism, and it is unclear how to scale existing off-policy QD-RL methods to these new data-rich regimes. In this work, we take the first steps to combine on-policy RL methods, specifically Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO), that can leverage massive parallelism, with QD, and propose a new QD-RL method with these high-throughput simulators and on-policy training in mind. Our proposed Proximal Policy Gradient Arborescence (PPGA) algorithm yields a 4x improvement over baselines on the challenging humanoid domain.

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