Model-based policy optimization with unsupervised model adaptation

Jian Shen, Han Zhao, Weinan Zhang, Yong Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Model-based reinforcement learning methods learn a dynamics model with real data sampled from the environment and leverage it to generate simulated data to derive an agent. However, due to the potential distribution mismatch between simulated data and real data, this could lead to degraded performance. Despite much effort being devoted to reducing this distribution mismatch, existing methods fail to solve it explicitly. In this paper, we investigate how to bridge the gap between real and simulated data due to inaccurate model estimation for better policy optimization. To begin with, we first derive a lower bound of the expected return, which naturally inspires a bound maximization algorithm by aligning the simulated and real data distributions. To this end, we propose a novel model-based reinforcement learning framework AMPO, which introduces unsupervised model adaptation to minimize the integral probability metric (IPM) between feature distributions from real and simulated data. Instantiating our framework with Wasserstein-1 distance gives a practical model-based approach. Empirically, our approach achieves state-of-the-art performance in terms of sample efficiency on a range of continuous control benchmark tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2020Dec 12 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


Dive into the research topics of 'Model-based policy optimization with unsupervised model adaptation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this