Invariant Causal Prediction for Block MDPs

Part of Proceedings of the International Conference on Machine Learning 1 pre-proceedings (ICML 2020)

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Amy Zhang, Clare Lyle, Shagun Sodhani, Angelos Filos, Marta Kwiatkowska, Joelle Pineau, Yarin Gal, Doina Precup


<p>Generalization across environments is critical to the successful application of reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms to real-world challenges. In this work we propose a method for learning state abstractions which generalize to novel observation distributions in the multi-environment RL setting. We prove that for certain classes of environments, this approach outputs, with high probability, a state abstraction corresponding to the causal feature set with respect to the return. We give empirical evidence that analogous methods for the nonlinear setting can also attain improved generalization over single- and multi-task baselines. Lastly, we provide bounds on model generalization error in the multi-environment setting, in the process showing a connection between causal variable identification and the state abstraction framework for MDPs.</p>