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284
Recent advances in hierarchical reinforcement learning
, 2003
"... A preliminary unedited version of this paper was incorrectly published as part of Volume ..."
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Cited by 213 (25 self)
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A preliminary unedited version of this paper was incorrectly published as part of Volume
The linear programming approach to approximate dynamic programming
 Operations Research
, 2001
"... The curse of dimensionality gives rise to prohibitive computational requirements that render infeasible the exact solution of largescale stochastic control problems. We study an efficient method based on linear programming for approximating solutions to such problems. The approach “fits ” a linear ..."
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Cited by 200 (17 self)
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The curse of dimensionality gives rise to prohibitive computational requirements that render infeasible the exact solution of largescale stochastic control problems. We study an efficient method based on linear programming for approximating solutions to such problems. The approach “fits ” a linear combination of preselected basis functions to the dynamic programming costtogo function. We develop error bounds that offer performance guarantees and also guide the selection of both basis functions and “staterelevance weights ” that influence quality of the approximation. Experimental results in the domain of queueing network control provide empirical support for the methodology. (Dynamic programming/optimal control: approximations/largescale problems. Queues, algorithms: control of queueing networks.)
Efficient Solution Algorithms for Factored MDPs
, 2003
"... This paper addresses the problem of planning under uncertainty in large Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). Factored MDPs represent a complex state space using state variables and the transition model using a dynamic Bayesian network. This representation often allows an exponential reduction in the re ..."
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Cited by 163 (4 self)
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This paper addresses the problem of planning under uncertainty in large Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). Factored MDPs represent a complex state space using state variables and the transition model using a dynamic Bayesian network. This representation often allows an exponential reduction in the representation size of structured MDPs, but the complexity of exact solution algorithms for such MDPs can grow exponentially in the representation size. In this paper, we present two approximate solution algorithms that exploit structure in factored MDPs. Both use an approximate value function represented as a linear combination of basis functions, where each basis function involves only a small subset of the domain variables. A key contribution of this paper is that it shows how the basic operations of both algorithms can be performed efficiently in closed form, by exploiting both additive and contextspecific structure in a factored MDP. A central element of our algorithms is a novel linear program decomposition technique, analogous to variable elimination in Bayesian networks, which reduces an exponentially large LP to a provably equivalent, polynomialsized one. One algorithm uses approximate linear programming, and the second approximate dynamic programming. Our dynamic programming algorithm is novel in that it uses an approximation based on maxnorm, a technique that more directly minimizes the terms that appear in error bounds for approximate MDP algorithms. We provide experimental results on problems with over 10^40 states, demonstrating a promising indication of the scalability of our approach, and compare our algorithm to an existing stateoftheart approach, showing, in some problems, exponential gains in computation time.
Reinforcement Learning In Continuous Time and Space
 Neural Computation
, 2000
"... This paper presents a reinforcement learning framework for continuoustime dynamical systems without a priori discretization of time, state, and action. Based on the HamiltonJacobiBellman (HJB) equation for infinitehorizon, discounted reward problems, we derive algorithms for estimating value f ..."
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Cited by 159 (6 self)
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This paper presents a reinforcement learning framework for continuoustime dynamical systems without a priori discretization of time, state, and action. Based on the HamiltonJacobiBellman (HJB) equation for infinitehorizon, discounted reward problems, we derive algorithms for estimating value functions and for improving policies with the use of function approximators. The process of value function estimation is formulated as the minimization of a continuoustime form of the temporal difference (TD) error. Update methods based on backward Euler approximation and exponential eligibility traces are derived and their correspondences with the conventional residual gradient, TD(0), and TD() algorithms are shown. For policy improvement, two methods, namely, a continuous actorcritic method and a valuegradient based greedy policy, are formulated. As a special case of the latter, a nonlinear feedback control law using the value gradient and the model of the input gain is derived....
Convergence Results for SingleStep OnPolicy ReinforcementLearning Algorithms
 MACHINE LEARNING
, 1998
"... An important application of reinforcement learning (RL) is to finitestate control problems and one of the most difficult problems in learning for control is balancing the exploration/exploitation tradeoff. Existing theoretical results for RL give very little guidance on reasonable ways to perform e ..."
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Cited by 142 (7 self)
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An important application of reinforcement learning (RL) is to finitestate control problems and one of the most difficult problems in learning for control is balancing the exploration/exploitation tradeoff. Existing theoretical results for RL give very little guidance on reasonable ways to perform exploration. In this paper, we examine the convergence of singlestep onpolicy RL algorithms for control. Onpolicy algorithms cannot separate exploration from learning and therefore must confront the exploration problem directly. We prove convergence results for several related onpolicy algorithms with both decaying exploration and persistent exploration. We also provide examples of exploration strategies that can be followed during learning that result in convergence to both optimal values and optimal policies.
Reinforcement learning for RoboCupsoccer keepaway
 Adaptive Behavior
, 2005
"... 1 RoboCup simulated soccer presents many challenges to reinforcement learning methods, including a large state space, hidden and uncertain state, multiple independent agents learning simultaneously, and long and variable delays in the effects of actions. We describe our application of episodic SMD ..."
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Cited by 126 (35 self)
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1 RoboCup simulated soccer presents many challenges to reinforcement learning methods, including a large state space, hidden and uncertain state, multiple independent agents learning simultaneously, and long and variable delays in the effects of actions. We describe our application of episodic SMDP Sarsa(λ) with linear tilecoding function approximation and variable λ to learning higherlevel decisions in a keepaway subtask of RoboCup soccer. In keepaway, one team, “the keepers, ” tries to keep control of the ball for as long as possible despite the efforts of “the takers. ” The keepers learn individually when to hold the ball and when to pass to a teammate. Our agents learned policies that significantly outperform a range of benchmark policies. We demonstrate the generality of our approach by applying it to a number of task variations including different field sizes and different numbers of players on each team.
Technical update: Leastsquares temporal difference learning
 Machine Learning
, 2002
"... Abstract. TD(λ) is a popular family of algorithms for approximate policy evaluation in large MDPs. TD(λ) works by incrementally updating the value function after each observed transition. It has two major drawbacks: it may make inefficient use of data, and it requires the user to manually tune a ste ..."
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Cited by 119 (2 self)
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Abstract. TD(λ) is a popular family of algorithms for approximate policy evaluation in large MDPs. TD(λ) works by incrementally updating the value function after each observed transition. It has two major drawbacks: it may make inefficient use of data, and it requires the user to manually tune a stepsize schedule for good performance. For the case of linear value function approximations and λ = 0, the LeastSquares TD (LSTD) algorithm of Bradtke and Barto (1996, Machine learning, 22:1–3, 33–57) eliminates all stepsize parameters and improves data efficiency. This paper updates Bradtke and Barto’s work in three significant ways. First, it presents a simpler derivation of the LSTD algorithm. Second, it generalizes from λ = 0 to arbitrary values of λ; at the extreme of λ = 1, the resulting new algorithm is shown to be a practical, incremental formulation of supervised linear regression. Third, it presents a novel and intuitive interpretation of LSTD as a modelbased reinforcement learning technique.
LeastSquares Temporal Difference Learning
 In Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Conference on Machine Learning
, 1999
"... TD() is a popular family of algorithms for approximate policy evaluation in large MDPs. TD() works by incrementally updating the value function after each observed transition. It has two major drawbacks: it makes inefficient use of data, and it requires the user to manually tune a stepsize schedule ..."
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Cited by 115 (0 self)
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TD() is a popular family of algorithms for approximate policy evaluation in large MDPs. TD() works by incrementally updating the value function after each observed transition. It has two major drawbacks: it makes inefficient use of data, and it requires the user to manually tune a stepsize schedule for good performance. For the case of linear value function approximations and = 0, the LeastSquares TD (LSTD) algorithm of Bradtke and Barto (Bradtke and Barto, 1996) eliminates all stepsize parameters and improves data efficiency. This paper extends Bradtke and Barto's work in three significant ways. First, it presents a simpler derivation of the LSTD algorithm. Second, it generalizes from = 0 to arbitrary values of ; at the extreme of = 1, the resulting algorithm is shown to be a practical formulation of supervised linear regression. Third, it presents a novel, intuitive interpretation of LSTD as a modelbased reinforcement learning technique.
Experiments with Reinforcement Learning in Problems with Continuous State and Action Spaces
, 1996
"... A key element in the solution of reinforcement learning problems is the value function. The purpose of this function is to measure the longterm utility or value of any given state and it is important because an agent can use it to decide what to do next. A common problem in reinforcement learning w ..."
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Cited by 113 (6 self)
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A key element in the solution of reinforcement learning problems is the value function. The purpose of this function is to measure the longterm utility or value of any given state and it is important because an agent can use it to decide what to do next. A common problem in reinforcement learning when applied to systems having continuous states and action spaces is that the value function must operate with a domain consisting of realvalued variables, which means that it should be able to represent the value of infinitely many state and action pairs. For this reason, function approximators are used to represent the value function when a closeform solution of the optimal policy is not available. In this paper, we extend a previously proposed reinforcement learning algorithm so that it can be used with function approximators that generalize the value of individual experiences across both, state and action spaces. In particular, we discuss the benefits of using sparse coarsecoded funct...
Optimal Stopping of Markov Processes: Hilbert Space Theory, Approximation Algorithms, and an Application to Pricing HighDimensional Financial Derivatives
 IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control
, 1997
"... We develop a theory characterizing optimal stopping times for discretetime ergodic Markov processes with discounted rewards. The theory differs from prior work by its view of perstage and terminal reward functions as elements of a certain Hilbert space. In addition to a streamlined analysis establ ..."
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Cited by 108 (6 self)
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We develop a theory characterizing optimal stopping times for discretetime ergodic Markov processes with discounted rewards. The theory differs from prior work by its view of perstage and terminal reward functions as elements of a certain Hilbert space. In addition to a streamlined analysis establishing existence and uniqueness of a solution to Bellman's equation, this approach provides an elegant framework for the study of approximate solutions. In particular, we propose a stochastic approximation algorithm that tunes weights of a linear combination of basis functions in order to approximate a value function. We prove that this algorithm converges (almost surely) and that the limit of convergence has some desirable properties. We discuss how variations on this line of analysis can be used to develop similar results for other classes of optimal stopping problems, including those involving independent increment processes, finite horizons, and twoplayer zerosum games. We illustrate...