Part of Proceedings of the Neural Information Processing Systems Track on Datasets and Benchmarks 1 (NeurIPS Datasets and Benchmarks 2021) round1
Mikayel Samvelyan, Robert Kirk, Vitaly Kurin, Jack Parker-Holder, Minqi Jiang, Eric Hambro, Fabio Petroni, Heinrich Kuttler, Edward Grefenstette, Tim Rocktäschel
Progress in deep reinforcement learning (RL) is heavily driven by the availability of challenging benchmarks used for training agents. However, benchmarks that are widely adopted by the community are not explicitly designed for evaluating specific capabilities of RL methods. While there exist environments for assessing particular open problems in RL (such as exploration, transfer learning, unsupervised environment design, or even language-assisted RL), it is generally difficult to extend these to richer, more complex environments once research goes beyond proof-of-concept results. We present MiniHack, a powerful sandbox framework for easily designing novel RL environments. MiniHack is a one-stop shop for RL experiments with environments ranging from small rooms to complex, procedurally generated worlds. By leveraging the full set of entities and environment dynamics from NetHack, one of the richest grid-based video games, MiniHack allows designing custom RL testbeds that are fast and convenient to use. With this sandbox framework, novel environments can be designed easily, either using a human-readable description language or a simple Python interface. In addition to a variety of RL tasks and baselines, MiniHack can wrap existing RL benchmarks and provide ways to seamlessly add additional complexity.