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Hindsight Expectation Maximization for Goal-conditioned Reinforcement Learning

Yunhao Tang · Alp Kucukelbir

Keywords: [ Reinforcement Learning ]


We propose a graphical model framework for goal-conditioned RL, with an EM algorithm that operates on the lower bound of the RL objective. The E-step provides a natural interpretation of how 'learning in hindsight' techniques, such as HER, to handle extremely sparse goal-conditioned rewards. The M-step reduces policy optimization to supervised learning updates, which greatly stabilizes end-to-end training on high-dimensional inputs such as images. We show that the combined algorithm, hEM significantly outperforms model-free baselines on a wide range of goal-conditioned benchmarks with sparse rewards.

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