Let Offline RL Flow: Training Conservative Agents in the Latent Space of Normalizing Flows


Offline reinforcement learning aims to train a policy on a pre-recorded and fixed dataset without any additional environment interactions. There are two major challenges in this setting: (1) extrapolation error caused by approximating the value of state-action pairs not well-covered by the training data and (2) distributional shift between behavior and inference policies. One way to tackle these problems is to induce conservatism - i.e., keeping the learned policies closer to the behavioral ones. To achieve this, we build upon recent works on learning policies in latent action spaces and use a special form of Normalizing Flows for constructing a generative model, which we use as a conservative action encoder. This Normalizing Flows action encoder is pre-trained in a supervised manner on the offline dataset, and then an additional policy model - controller in the latent space - is trained via reinforcement learning. This approach avoids querying actions outside of the training dataset and therefore does not require additional regularization for out-of-dataset actions. We evaluate our method on various locomotion and navigation tasks, demonstrating that our approach outperforms recently proposed algorithms with generative action models on a large portion of datasets.

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