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ConQUR: Mitigating Delusional Bias in Deep Q-Learning

DiJia Su · Jayden Ooi · Tyler Lu · Dale Schuurmans · Craig Boutilier


Keywords: [ Deep Reinforcement Learning ] [ Planning and Control ] [ Reinforcement Learning ] [ Reinforcement Learning Theory ] [ Reinforcement Learning - General ]


Delusional bias is a fundamental source of error in approximate Q-learning. To date, the only techniques that explicitly address delusion require comprehensive search using tabular value estimates. In this paper, we develop efficient methods to mitigate delusional bias by training Q-approximators with labels that are "consistent" with the underlying greedy policy class. We introduce a simple penalization scheme that encourages Q-labels used across training batches to remain (jointly) consistent with the expressible policy class. We also propose a search framework that allows multiple Q-approximators to be generated and tracked, thus mitigating the effect of premature (implicit) policy commitments. Experimental results demonstrate that these methods can improve the performance of Q-learning in a variety of Atari games, sometimes dramatically.

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