Reward learning from human preferences and demonstrations in Atari

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Borja Ibarz, Jan Leike, Tobias Pohlen, Geoffrey Irving, Shane Legg, Dario Amodei


To solve complex real-world problems with reinforcement learning, we cannot rely on manually specified reward functions. Instead, we need humans to communicate an objective to the agent directly. In this work, we combine two approaches to this problem: learning from expert demonstrations and learning from trajectory preferences. We use both to train a deep neural network to model the reward function and use its predicted reward to train an DQN-based deep reinforcement learning agent on 9 Atari games. Our approach beats the imitation learning baseline in 7 games and achieves strictly superhuman performance on 2 games. Additionally, we investigate the fit of the reward model, present some reward hacking problems, and study the effects of noise in the human labels.