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Receding horizon curiosity

Matthias Schultheis; Boris Belousov; Hany Abdulsamad; Jan Peters
In: Leslie Pack Kaelbling; Danica Kragic; Komei Sugiura (Hrsg.). 3rd Annual Conference on Robot Learning. Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL-2019), October 30 - November 1, Osaka, Japan, Pages 1278-1288, Proceedings of Machine Learning Research (PMLR), Vol. 100, PMLR, 2019.


Sample-efficient exploration is crucial not only for discovering rewarding experiences but also for adapting to environment changes in a task-agnostic fashion. A principled treatment of the problem of optimal input synthesis for system identification is provided within the framework of sequential Bayesian experimental design. In this paper, we present an effective trajectory-optimization-based approximate solution of this otherwise intractable problem that models optimal exploration in an unknown Markov decision process (MDP). By interleaving episodic exploration with Bayesian nonlinear system identification, our algorithm takes advantage of the inductive bias to explore in a directed manner, without assuming prior knowledge of the MDP. Empirical evaluations indicate a clear advantage of the proposed algorithm in terms of the rate of convergence and the final model fidelity when compared to intrinsic-motivation-based algorithms employing exploration bonuses such as prediction error and information gain. Moreover, our method maintains a computational advantage over a recent model-based active exploration (MAX) algorithm, by focusing on the information gain along trajectories instead of seeking a global exploration policy. A reference implementation of our algorithm and the conducted experiments is publicly available.

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