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Pierluca D'Oro

PhD - Université de Montréal


Do Transformer World Models Give Better Policy Gradients?
Michel Ma
Tianwei Ni
Clement Gehring
Pierluca D'Oro
Maxwell's Demon at Work: Efficient Pruning by Leveraging Saturation of Neurons
Simon Dufort-Labbé
Pierluca D'Oro
Evgenii Nikishin
Razvan Pascanu
Aristide Baratin
Motif: Intrinsic Motivation from Artificial Intelligence Feedback
Martin Klissarov
Pierluca D'Oro
Shagun Sodhani
Roberta Raileanu
Amy Zhang
Mikael Henaff
Exploring rich environments and evaluating one's actions without prior knowledge is immensely challenging. In this paper, we propose Motif, … (see more)a general method to interface such prior knowledge from a Large Language Model (LLM) with an agent. Motif is based on the idea of grounding LLMs for decision-making without requiring them to interact with the environment: it elicits preferences from an LLM over pairs of captions to construct an intrinsic reward, which is then used to train agents with reinforcement learning. We evaluate Motif's performance and behavior on the challenging, open-ended and procedurally-generated NetHack game. Surprisingly, by only learning to maximize its intrinsic reward, Motif achieves a higher game score than an algorithm directly trained to maximize the score itself. When combining Motif's intrinsic reward with the environment reward, our method significantly outperforms existing approaches and makes progress on tasks where no advancements have ever been made without demonstrations. Finally, we show that Motif mostly generates intuitive human-aligned behaviors which can be steered easily through prompt modifications, while scaling well with the LLM size and the amount of information given in the prompt.
The Curse of Diversity in Ensemble-Based Exploration
Zhixuan Lin
Pierluca D'Oro
Evgenii Nikishin
We uncover a surprising phenomenon in deep reinforcement learning: training a diverse ensemble of data-sharing agents -- a well-established … (see more)exploration strategy -- can significantly impair the performance of the individual ensemble members when compared to standard single-agent training. Through careful analysis, we attribute the degradation in performance to the low proportion of self-generated data in the shared training data for each ensemble member, as well as the inefficiency of the individual ensemble members to learn from such highly off-policy data. We thus name this phenomenon *the curse of diversity*. We find that several intuitive solutions -- such as a larger replay buffer or a smaller ensemble size -- either fail to consistently mitigate the performance loss or undermine the advantages of ensembling. Finally, we demonstrate the potential of representation learning to counteract the curse of diversity with a novel method named Cross-Ensemble Representation Learning (CERL) in both discrete and continuous control domains. Our work offers valuable insights into an unexpected pitfall in ensemble-based exploration and raises important caveats for future applications of similar approaches.
Policy Optimization in a Noisy Neighborhood: On Return Landscapes in Continuous Control
Nathan Rahn
Pierluca D'Oro
Harley Wiltzer
Deep reinforcement learning agents for continuous control are known to exhibit significant instability in their performance over time. In th… (see more)is work, we provide a fresh perspective on these behaviors by studying the return landscape: the mapping between a policy and a return. We find that popular algorithms traverse noisy neighborhoods of this landscape, in which a single update to the policy parameters leads to a wide range of returns. By taking a distributional view of these returns, we map the landscape, characterizing failure-prone regions of policy space and revealing a hidden dimension of policy quality. We show that the landscape exhibits surprising structure by finding simple paths in parameter space which improve the stability of a policy. To conclude, we develop a distribution-aware procedure which finds such paths, navigating away from noisy neighborhoods in order to improve the robustness of a policy. Taken together, our results provide new insight into the optimization, evaluation, and design of agents.
Sample-Efficient Reinforcement Learning by Breaking the Replay Ratio Barrier
Pierluca D'Oro
Max Schwarzer
Evgenii Nikishin
Increasing the replay ratio, the number of updates of an agent's parameters per environment interaction, is an appealing strategy for improv… (see more)ing the sample efficiency of deep reinforcement learning algorithms. In this work, we show that fully or partially resetting the parameters of deep reinforcement learning agents causes better replay ratio scaling capabilities to emerge. We push the limits of the sample efficiency of carefully-modified algorithms by training them using an order of magnitude more updates than usual, significantly improving their performance in the Atari 100k and DeepMind Control Suite benchmarks. We then provide an analysis of the design choices required for favorable replay ratio scaling to be possible and discuss inherent limits and tradeoffs.