Evolving Constrained Reinforcement Learning Policy

Chengpeng HU, Jiyuan PEI, Jialin LIU, Xin YAO

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsConference paper (refereed)Researchpeer-review


Evolutionary algorithms have been used to evolve a population of actors to generate diverse experiences for training reinforcement learning agents, which helps to tackle the temporal credit assignment problem and improves the exploration efficiency. However, when adapting this approach to address constrained problems, balancing the trade-off between the reward and constraint violation is hard. In this paper, we propose a novel evolutionary constrained reinforcement learning (ECRL) algorithm, which adaptively balances the reward and constraint violation with stochastic ranking, and at the same time, restricts the policy's behaviour by maintaining a set of Lagrange relaxation coefficients with a constraint buffer. Extensive experiments on robotic control benchmarks show that our ECRL achieves outstanding performance compared to state-of-the-art algorithms. Ablation analysis shows the benefits of introducing stochastic ranking and constraint buffer. © 2023 IEEE.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781665488679
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 62250710682, 61906083), the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory (Grant No. 2020B121201001), the Program for Guangdong Introducing Innovative and Enterpreneurial Teams (Grant No. 2017ZT07X386), the Shenzhen Science and Technology Program (Grant No. KQTD2016112514355531), the Shenzhen Fundamental Research Program (Grant No. JCYJ20190809121403553), and the Research Institute of Trustworthy Autonomous Systems.


  • constrained reinforcement learning
  • Evolutionary constrained reinforcement learning
  • evolutionary reinforcement learning
  • robotic control
  • stochastic ranking


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