Sample Efficient Path Integral Control under Uncertainty

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)

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Yunpeng Pan, Evangelos Theodorou, Michail Kontitsis


We present a data-driven stochastic optimal control framework that is derived using the path integral (PI) control approach. We find iterative control laws analytically without a priori policy parameterization based on probabilistic representation of the learned dynamics model. The proposed algorithm operates in a forward-backward sweep manner which differentiate it from other PI-related methods that perform forward sampling to find open-loop optimal controls. Our method uses significantly less sampled data to find analytic control laws compared to other approaches within the PI control family that rely on extensive sampling from given dynamics models or trials on physical systems in a model-free fashion. In addition, the learned controllers can be generalized to new tasks without re-sampling based on the compositionality theory for the linearly-solvable optimal control framework.We provide experimental results on three different systems and comparisons with state-of-the-art model-based methods to demonstrate the efficiency and generalizability of the proposed framework.