Active Learning for Risk-Sensitive Inverse Reinforcement Learning

Rui Chen, Wenshuo Wang, Zirui Zhao, Ding Zhao

In International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) (In Review), 2019


One typical assumption in inverse reinforcement learning (IRL) is that human experts act to optimize the expected utility of a stochastic cost with a fixed distribution. This assumption deviates from actual human behaviors under ambiguity. Risk-sensitive inverse reinforcement learning (RS-IRL) bridges such gap by assuming that humans act according to a random cost with respect to a set of subjectively distorted distributions instead of a fixed one. Such assumption provides the additional flexibility to model human’s risk preferences, represented by a risk envelope, in safe-critical tasks. However, like other learning from demonstration techniques, RS-IRL could also suffer inefficient learning due to redundant demonstrations. Inspired by the concept of active learning, this research derives a probabilistic disturbance sampling scheme to enable an RS-IRL agent to query expert support that is likely to expose unrevealed boundaries of the expert’s risk envelope. Experimental results confirm that our approach accelerates the convergence of RS-IRL algorithms with lower variance while still guaranteeing unbiased convergence.