Reinforcement learning with augmented data

Michael Laskin, Kimin Lee, Adam Stooke, Lerrel Pinto, Pieter Abbeel, Aravind Srinivas

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Learning from visual observations is a fundamental yet challenging problem in Reinforcement Learning (RL). Although algorithmic advances combined with convolutional neural networks have proved to be a recipe for success, current methods are still lacking on two fronts: (a) data-efficiency of learning and (b) generalization to new environments. To this end, we present Reinforcement Learning with Augmented Data (RAD), a simple plug-and-play module that can enhance most RL algorithms. We perform the first extensive study of general data augmentations for RL on both pixel-based and state-based inputs, and introduce two new data augmentations - random translate and random amplitude scale. We show that augmentations such as random translate, crop, color jitter, patch cutout, random convolutions, and amplitude scale can enable simple RL algorithms to outperform complex state-of-the-art methods across common benchmarks. RAD sets a new state-of-the-art in terms of data-efficiency and final performance on the DeepMind Control Suite benchmark for pixel-based control as well as OpenAI Gym benchmark for state-based control. We further demonstrate that RAD significantly improves test-time generalization over existing methods on several OpenAI ProcGen benchmarks. Our RAD module and training code are available at

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - 2020
Event34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2020Dec 12 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


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