Policy Supervectors: General Characterization of Agents by their Behaviour

Anssi Kanervisto, Tomi Kinnunen, Ville Hautamäki

By studying the underlying policies of decision-making agents, we can learn about their shortcomings and potentially improve them. Traditionally, this has been done either by examining the agent's implementation, its behaviour while it is being executed, its performance with a reward/fitness function or by visualizing the density of states the agent visits. However, these methods fail to describe the policy's behaviour in complex, high-dimensional environments or do not scale to thousands of policies, which is required when studying training algorithms. We propose policy supervectors for characterizing agents by the distribution of states they visit, adopting successful techniques from the area of speech technology. Policy supervectors can characterize policies regardless of their design philosophy (e.g. rule-based vs. neural networks) and scale to thousands of policies on a single workstation machine. We demonstrate method's applicability by studying the evolution of policies during reinforcement learning, evolutionary training and imitation learning, providing insight on e.g. how the search space of evolutionary algorithms is also reflected in agent's behaviour, not just in the parameters.

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