Self-Tuning Deep Reinforcement Learning

Reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms often require expensive manual or automated hyperparameter searches in order to perform well on a new domain. This need is particularly acute in modern deep RL architectures which often incorporate many modules and multiple loss functions. In this paper, we take a step towards addressing this issue by using metagradients (Xu et al., 2018) to tune these hyperparameters via differentiable cross validation, whilst the agent interacts with and learns from the environment. We present the Self-Tuning Actor Critic (STAC) which uses this process to tune the hyperparameters of the usual loss function of the IMPALA actor critic agent(Espeholt et. al., 2018), to learn the hyperparameters that define auxiliary loss functions, and to balance trade offs in off policy learning by introducing and adapting the hyperparameters of a novel leaky V-trace operator. The method is simple to use, sample efficient and does not require significant increase in compute. Ablative studies show that the overall performance of STAC improves as we adapt more hyperparameters. When applied to 57 games on the Atari 2600 environment over 200 million frames our algorithm improves the median human normalized score of the baseline from 243% to 364%.