Researchers and practitioners in the field of reinforcement learning (RL) frequently leverage parallel computation, which has led to a plethora of new algorithms and systems in the last few years. In this paper, we re-examine the challenges posed by distributed RL and try to view it through the lens of an old idea: distributed dataflow. We show that viewing RL as a dataflow problem leads to highly composable and performant implementations. We propose RLlib Flow, a hybrid actor-dataflow programming model for distributed RL, and validate its practicality by porting the full suite of algorithms in RLlib, a widely adopted distributed RL library. Concretely, RLlib Flow provides 2-9 code savings in real production code and enables the composition of multi-agent algorithms not possible by end users before. The open-source code is available as part of RLlib at https://github.com/ray-project/ray/tree/master/rllib.
- Pub Date:
- November 2020
- Computer Science - Machine Learning;
- Computer Science - Distributed;
- and Cluster Computing;
- NeurIPS 2021. The first two authors contributed equally to this work