Transfer of temporal logic formulas in reinforcement learning

Zhe Xu, Ufuk Topcu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

28 Scopus citations


Transferring high-level knowledge from a source task to a target task is an effective way to expedite reinforcement learning (RL). For example, propositional logic and first-order logic have been used as representations of such knowledge. We study the transfer of knowledge between tasks in which the timing of the events matters. We call such tasks temporal tasks. We concretize similarity between temporal tasks through a notion of logical transferability, and develop a transfer learning approach between different yet similar temporal tasks. We first propose an inference technique to extract metric interval temporal logic (MITL) formulas in sequential disjunctive normal form from labeled trajectories collected in RL of the two tasks. If logical transferability is identified through this inference, we construct a timed automaton for each sequential conjunctive subformula of the inferred MITL formulas from both tasks. We perform RL on the extended state which includes the locations and clock valuations of the timed automata for the source task. We then establish mappings between the corresponding components (clocks, locations, etc.) of the timed automata from the two tasks, and transfer the extended Q-functions based on the established mappings. Finally, we perform RL on the extended state for the target task, starting with the transferred extended Q-functions. Our implementation results show, depending on how similar the source task and the target task are, that the sampling efficiency for the target task can be improved by up to one order of magnitude by performing RL in the extended state space, and further improved by up to another order of magnitude using the transferred extended Q-functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IJCAI 2019
EditorsSarit Kraus
PublisherInternational Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780999241141
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IJCAI 2019 - Macao, China
Duration: Aug 10 2019Aug 16 2019

Publication series

NameIJCAI International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence
ISSN (Print)1045-0823


Conference28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IJCAI 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence


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