A Simple Solution for Offline Imitation from Observations and Examples with Possibly Incomplete Trajectories

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Kai Yan, Alex Schwing, Yu-Xiong Wang


Offline imitation from observations aims to solve MDPs where only task-specific expert states and task-agnostic non-expert state-action pairs are available. Offline imitation is useful in real-world scenarios where arbitrary interactions are costly and expert actions are unavailable. The state-of-the-art ‘DIstribution Correction Estimation’ (DICE) methods minimize divergence of state occupancy between expert and learner policies and retrieve a policy with weighted behavior cloning; however, their results are unstable when learning from incomplete trajectories, due to a non-robust optimization in the dual domain. To address the issue, in this paper, we propose Trajectory-Aware Imitation Learning from Observations (TAILO). TAILO uses a discounted sum along the future trajectory as the weight for weighted behavior cloning. The terms for the sum are scaled by the output of a discriminator, which aims to identify expert states. Despite simplicity, TAILO works well if there exist trajectories or segments of expert behavior in the task-agnostic data, a common assumption in prior work. In experiments across multiple testbeds, we find TAILO to be more robust and effective, particularly with incomplete trajectories.