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Stable Function Approximation in Dynamic Programming
 IN MACHINE LEARNING: PROCEEDINGS OF THE TWELFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
, 1995
"... The success of reinforcement learning in practical problems depends on the ability tocombine function approximation with temporal difference methods such as value iteration. Experiments in this area have produced mixed results; there have been both notable successes and notable disappointments. Theo ..."
Abstract

Cited by 207 (5 self)
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The success of reinforcement learning in practical problems depends on the ability tocombine function approximation with temporal difference methods such as value iteration. Experiments in this area have produced mixed results; there have been both notable successes and notable disappointments. Theory has been scarce, mostly due to the difficulty of reasoning about function approximators that generalize beyond the observed data. We provide a proof of convergence for a wide class of temporal difference methods involving function approximators such as knearestneighbor, and show experimentally that these methods can be useful. The proof is based on a view of function approximators as expansion or contraction mappings. In addition, we present a novel view of approximate value iteration: an approximate algorithm for one environment turns out to be an exact algorithm for a different environment.
Approximate Solutions to Markov Decision Processes
, 1999
"... One of the basic problems of machine learning is deciding how to act in an uncertain world. For example, if I want my robot to bring me a cup of coffee, it must be able to compute the correct sequence of electrical impulses to send to its motors to navigate from the coffee pot to my office. In fact, ..."
Abstract

Cited by 66 (9 self)
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One of the basic problems of machine learning is deciding how to act in an uncertain world. For example, if I want my robot to bring me a cup of coffee, it must be able to compute the correct sequence of electrical impulses to send to its motors to navigate from the coffee pot to my office. In fact, since the results of its actions are not completely predictable, it is not enough just to compute the correct sequence; instead the robot must sense and correct for deviations from its intended path. In order for any machine learner to act reasonably in an uncertain environment, it must solve problems like the above one quickly and reliably. Unfortunately, the world is often so complicated that it is difficult or impossible to find the optimal sequence of actions to achieve a given goal. So, in order to scale our learners up to realworld problems, we usually must settle for approximate solutions. One representation for a learner's environment and goals is a Markov decision process or MDP. ...