Testing of Deep Reinforcement Learning Agents with Surrogate Models

Matteo Biagiola, Paolo Tonella

Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) has received a lot of attention from the research community in recent years. As the technology moves away from game playing to practical contexts, such as autonomous vehicles and robotics, it is crucial to evaluate the quality of DRL agents. In this paper, we propose a search-based approach to test such agents. Our approach, implemented in a tool called Indago, trains a classifier on failure and non-failure environment configurations resulting from the DRL training process. The classifier is used at testing time as a surrogate model for the DRL agent execution in the environment, predicting the extent to which a given environment configuration induces a failure of the DRL agent under test. Indeed, the failure prediction acts as a fitness function, in order to guide the generation towards failure environment configurations, while saving computation time by deferring the execution of the DRL agent in the environment to those configurations that are more likely to expose failures. Experimental results show that our search-based approach finds 50% more failures of the DRL agent than state-of-the-art techniques. Moreover, such failure environment configurations, as well as the behaviours of the DRL agent induced by them, are significantly more diverse.

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