Autonomous Skill Discovery Through Self-Supervised Exploration

Unsupervised Skill Discovery


We introduce Contrastive Intrinsic Control (CIC) - an algorithm for unsupervised skill discovery that maximizes the mutual information between skills and state transitions. In contrast to most prior approaches, CIC uses a decomposition of the mutual information that explicitly incentivizes diverse behaviors by maximizing state entropy. We derive a novel lower bound estimate for the mutual information which combines a particle estimator for state entropy to generate diverse behaviors and contrastive learning to distill these behaviors into distinct skills. We evaluate our algorithm on the Unsupervised Reinforcement Learning Benchmark, which consists of a long reward-free pre-training phase followed by a short adaptation phase to downstream tasks with extrinsic rewards. We find that CIC improves on prior unsupervised skill discovery methods by 91% and the next-leading overall exploration algorithm by 26% in terms of downstream task performance.


  • Michael Laskin, UC Berkeley
  • Hao Liu, UC Berkeley
  • Xue Bin Peng, UC Berkeley
  • Denis Yarats, NYU, FAIR
  • Aravind Rajeswaran, FAIR
  • Pieter Abbeel, UC Berkeley, Covariant