Despite significant progress, deep reinforcement learning (RL) suffers from
data-inefficiency and limited generalization. Recent efforts apply
meta-learning to learn a meta-learner from a set of RL tasks such that a novel
but related task could be solved quickly. Though specific in some ways,
different tasks in meta-RL are generally similar at a high level. However, most
meta-RL methods do not explicitly and adequately model the specific and shared
information among different tasks, which limits their ability to learn training
tasks and to generalize to novel tasks. In this paper, we propose to capture
the shared information on the one hand and meta-learn how to quickly abstract
the specific information about a task on the other hand. Methodologically, we
train an SGD meta-learner to quickly optimize a task encoder for each task,
which generates a task embedding based on past experience. Meanwhile, we learn
a policy which is shared across all tasks and conditioned on task embeddings.
Empirical results on four simulated tasks demonstrate that our method has
better learning capacity on both training and novel tasks and attains up to 3
to 4 times higher returns compared to baselines.

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