* External authors




Skill-Critic: Refining Learned Skills for Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning

Ce Hao*

Catherine Weaver*

Chen Tang*

Kenta Kawamoto

Masayoshi Tomizuka*

Wei Zhan*

* External authors

RAL 2024



Hierarchical reinforcement learning (RL) can accelerate long-horizon decision-making by temporally abstracting a policy into multiple levels. Promising results in sparse reward environments have been seen with skills , i.e. sequences of primitive actions. Typically, a skill latent space and policy are discovered from offline data. However, the resulting low-level policy can be unreliable due to low-coverage demonstrations or distribution shifts. As a solution, we propose the Skill-Critic algorithm to fine-tune the low-level policy in conjunction with high-level skill selection. Our Skill-Critic algorithm optimizes both the low-level and high-level policies; these policies are initialized and regularized by the latent space learned from offline demonstrations to guide the parallel policy optimization. We validate Skill-Critic in multiple sparse-reward RL environments, including a new sparse-reward autonomous racing task in Gran Turismo Sport. The experiments show that Skill-Critic's low-level policy fine-tuning and demonstration-guided regularization are essential for good performance.

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