I'm having trouble implementing AC for continuous action space. As far as I can tell, my code doesn't seem to have any bugs! The agent is learning "something" as its behaviour seems to vary dramatically after several episodes, but it never seems to ever approach a type of behaviour which I'd think is reasonable.

I've used very similar code and things have gone smoothly in discrete space and little has changed other than changes to the output (mean and variance).

Below is the relevant code:

class Actor(object):
def __init__(self, sess, s_size, h_size, a_size, env, lr=1e-3):

    mu = tf.layers.dense(self.hidden_1, 

    sigma = tf.layers.dense(self.hidden_1, 
    sigma = sigma + 1e-10

    self.normal_dist = tf.contrib.distributions.Normal(mu, sigma)
    self.action = tf.clip_by_value(self.normal_dist.sample(1), env.action_space.low[0], env.action_space.high[0])

    self.adv = tf.placeholder(dtype=tf.float32)    # get log prob of the actions taken in _samples
    self.acts = tf.placeholder(shape=[None, a_size], dtype=tf.float32)

    self.log_prob = self.normal_dist.log_prob(self.acts)

    self.loss = -self.log_prob * self.adv 

The environment I'm using is the LunarLanderContinuous-v2. I've tested DDPG in this same environment and the agent learns incredibly quickly in comparison with the same learning rate and model size which is making me very confused. If anyone has any input it would be very much appreciated. Thanks

class Critic(object):
def __init__(self, sess, s_size, h_size, env, gamma=0.99, lr=1e-3):
    self.gamma = gamma
    self.replay_buffer = []
    self.input = tf.placeholder(shape=[None, s_size], dtype=tf.float32)

    self.hidden_1 = tf.layers.dense(self.input, 

    self.hidden_2 = tf.layers.dense(self.hidden_1, 

    self.value = tf.layers.dense(self.hidden_2, 

    self.q_value = tf.placeholder(shape=[None,], dtype=tf.float32)
    self.advantage = self.q_value - self.value

    self.loss = tf.reduce_mean(tf.square(self.advantage))

    self.lr = lr
    optimizer = tf.train.AdamOptimizer(self.lr)
    self.update = optimizer.minimize(self.loss)
  • $\begingroup$ As you have only posted the Actor's constructor there is no way to tell where the problem may lie. Furthermore, note that vanilla AC methods are not very sample-efficient... $\endgroup$ – geky Oct 30 '18 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ @geky I showed the Actor part because I've tested the critic part in other environments and am using the same model. I've posted it now. Do you have any recommendation for other AC methods that are not vanilla or deterministic like DDPG? $\endgroup$ – tryingtolearn Oct 31 '18 at 10:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is the code in your question the code you're actually running? Inside the Actor class, you're using self.hidden_1... but that doesn't seem to be defined there? A variable with that name is only defined in the different Critic class $\endgroup$ – Dennis Soemers Nov 4 '18 at 11:13
  • $\begingroup$ @DennisSoemers It's not, I edited out most of the stuff before because the variables were exactly the same as previously so I confirm they're working. I just posted the stuff that I had to adapt which is outputing the mu and sigma for the distributions which has 2 dimensions. $\endgroup$ – tryingtolearn Nov 5 '18 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ How are you calculating and feeding in advantage? I can see you are setting a placeholder to feed it in later self.q_value = tf.placeholder(shape=[None,], dtype=tf.float32) but not how you are calculating it. $\endgroup$ – Neil Slater Nov 6 '18 at 14:04

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