NIPS Proceedingsβ

Bootstrapping Apprenticeship Learning

Part of: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

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We consider the problem of apprenticeship learning where the examples, demonstrated by an expert, cover only a small part of a large state space. Inverse Reinforcement Learning (IRL) provides an efficient tool for generalizing the demonstration, based on the assumption that the expert is maximizing a utility function that is a linear combination of state-action features. Most IRL algorithms use a simple Monte Carlo estimation to approximate the expected feature counts under the expert's policy. In this paper, we show that the quality of the learned policies is highly sensitive to the error in estimating the feature counts. To reduce this error, we introduce a novel approach for bootstrapping the demonstration by assuming that: (i), the expert is (near-)optimal, and (ii), the dynamics of the system is known. Empirical results on gridworlds and car racing problems show that our approach is able to learn good policies from a small number of demonstrations.