Episodic Self-Imitation Learning with Hindsight

Tianhong Dai, Hengyan Liu, Anil Anthony Bharath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Episodic self-imitation learning, a novel self-imitation algorithm with a trajectory selection module and an adaptive loss function, is proposed to speed up reinforcement learning. Compared to the original self-imitation learning algorithm, which samples good state–action pairs from the experience replay buffer, our agent leverages entire episodes with hindsight to aid self-imitation learning. A selection module is introduced to filter uninformative samples from each episode of the update. The proposed method overcomes the limitations of the standard self-imitation learning algorithm, a transitions-based method which performs poorly in handling continuous control environments with sparse rewards. From the experiments, episodic self-imitation learning is shown to perform better than baseline on-policy algorithms, achieving comparable performance to state-of-the-art off-policy algorithms in several simulated robot control tasks. The trajectory selection module is shown to prevent the agent learning undesirable hindsight experiences. With the capability of solving sparse reward problems in continuous control settings, episodic self-imitation learning has the potential to be applied to real-world problems that have continuous action spaces, such as robot guidance and manipulation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalElectronics (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Author Contributions: Conceptualization, T.D.; methodology, T.D.; software, T.D.; writing—original draft
preparation, T.D.; writing—review and editing, H.L. and A.A.B.; supervision, A.A.B.; All authors have read and
agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding: This work was partly supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [grant
number: EP/J021199/1].


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