Efficient Probabilistic Performance Bounds for Inverse Reinforcement Learning


  • Daniel Brown University of Texas at Austin
  • Scott Niekum University of Texas at Austin




inverse reinforcement learning, learning from demonstration, high-confidence performance bounds, risk-sensitive


In the field of reinforcement learning there has been recent progress towards safety and high-confidence bounds on policy performance. However, to our knowledge, no practical methods exist for determining high-confidence policy performance bounds in the inverse reinforcement learning setting---where the true reward function is unknown and only samples of expert behavior are given. We propose a sampling method based on Bayesian inverse reinforcement learning that uses demonstrations to determine practical high-confidence upper bounds on the alpha-worst-case difference in expected return between any evaluation policy and the optimal policy under the expert's unknown reward function. We evaluate our proposed bound on both a standard grid navigation task and a simulated driving task and achieve tighter and more accurate bounds than a feature count-based baseline. We also give examples of how our proposed bound can be utilized to perform risk-aware policy selection and risk-aware policy improvement. Because our proposed bound requires several orders of magnitude fewer demonstrations than existing high-confidence bounds, it is the first practical method that allows agents that learn from demonstration to express confidence in the quality of their learned policy.




How to Cite

Brown, D., & Niekum, S. (2018). Efficient Probabilistic Performance Bounds for Inverse Reinforcement Learning. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v32i1.11755