Factored Adaptation for Non-Stationary Reinforcement Learning
Dealing with non-stationarity in environments (i.e., transition dynamics) and objectives (i.e., reward functions) is a challenging problem that is crucial in real-world applications of reinforcement learning (RL). While most current approaches model the changes as a single shared embedding vector, we leverage insights from the recent causality literature to model non-stationarity in terms of individual latent change factors and causal graphs across different environments. In particular, we propose Factored Adaptation for Non-Stationary RL (FANS-RL), a factored adaption approach that learns jointly the causal structure in terms of a factored MDP, and a factored representation of the individual time-varying change factors. We prove that under standard assumptions we can recover completely the causal graph representing the factored transition and reward function, and a partial structure between the individual change factors and the state components. Through our general framework, we can consider general non-stationary scenarios with different changing function types and changing frequency, including changes across episodes and within episodes. Experimental results demonstrate that FANS-RL outperforms existing approaches in terms of rewards, compactness of the latent state representation and robustness to varying degrees of non-stationarity.