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Multi-step Greedy Reinforcement Learning Algorithms
Manan Tomar · Yonathan Efroni · Mohammad Ghavamzadeh

Tue Jul 14 12:00 PM -- 12:45 PM & Wed Jul 15 01:00 AM -- 01:45 AM (PDT) @
Multi-step greedy policies have been extensively used in model-based reinforcement learning (RL), both when a model of the environment is available (e.g.,~in the game of Go) and when it is learned. In this paper, we explore their benefits in model-free RL, when employed using multi-step dynamic programming algorithms: $\kappa$-Policy Iteration ($\kappa$-PI) and $\kappa$-Value Iteration ($\kappa$-VI). These methods iteratively compute the next policy ($\kappa$-PI) and value function ($\kappa$-VI) by solving a surrogate decision problem with a shaped reward and a smaller discount factor. We derive model-free RL algorithms based on $\kappa$-PI and $\kappa$-VI in which the surrogate problem can be solved by any discrete or continuous action RL method, such as DQN and TRPO. We identify the importance of a hyper-parameter that controls the extent to which the surrogate problem is solved and suggest a way to set this parameter. When evaluated on a range of Atari and MuJoCo benchmark tasks, our results indicate that for the right range of $\kappa$, our algorithms outperform DQN and TRPO. This shows that our multi-step greedy algorithms are general enough to be applied over any existing RL algorithm and can significantly improve its performance.

Author Information

Manan Tomar (Facebook AI Research)
Yonathan Efroni (Technion)
Mohammad Ghavamzadeh (Google Research)

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