Robust Deep Reinforcement Learning through Adversarial Loss

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Tuomas Oikarinen, Wang Zhang, Alexandre Megretski, Luca Daniel, Tsui-Wei Weng


Recent studies have shown that deep reinforcement learning agents are vulnerable to small adversarial perturbations on the agent's inputs, which raises concerns about deploying such agents in the real world. To address this issue, we propose RADIAL-RL, a principled framework to train reinforcement learning agents with improved robustness against $l_p$-norm bounded adversarial attacks. Our framework is compatible with popular deep reinforcement learning algorithms and we demonstrate its performance with deep Q-learning, A3C and PPO. We experiment on three deep RL benchmarks (Atari, MuJoCo and ProcGen) to show the effectiveness of our robust training algorithm. Our RADIAL-RL agents consistently outperform prior methods when tested against attacks of varying strength and are more computationally efficient to train. In addition, we propose a new evaluation method called Greedy-Worst-Case Reward (GWC) to measure attack agnostic robustness of deep RL agents. We show that GWC can be evaluated efficiently and is a good estimate of the reward under the worst possible sequence of adversarial attacks. All code used for our experiments is available at