Nonlinear Inverse Reinforcement Learning with Gaussian Processes

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24 (NIPS 2011)

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Sergey Levine, Zoran Popovic, Vladlen Koltun


We present a probabilistic algorithm for nonlinear inverse reinforcement learning. The goal of inverse reinforcement learning is to learn the reward function in a Markov decision process from expert demonstrations. While most prior inverse reinforcement learning algorithms represent the reward as a linear combination of a set of features, we use Gaussian processes to learn the reward as a nonlinear function, while also determining the relevance of each feature to the expert's policy. Our probabilistic algorithm allows complex behaviors to be captured from suboptimal stochastic demonstrations, while automatically balancing the simplicity of the learned reward structure against its consistency with the observed actions.