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Universal Option Models
hengshuai yao · Csaba Szepesvari · Richard Sutton · Joseph Modayil · Shalabh Bhatnagar

Thu Dec 11 11:00 AM -- 03:00 PM (PST) @ Level 2, room 210D

We consider the problem of learning models of options for real-time abstract planning, in the setting where reward functions can be specified at any time and their expected returns must be efficiently computed. We introduce a new model for an option that is independent of any reward function, called the {\it universal option model (UOM)}. We prove that the UOM of an option can construct a traditional option model given a reward function, and the option-conditional return is computed directly by a single dot-product of the UOM with the reward function. We extend the UOM to linear function approximation, and we show it gives the TD solution of option returns and value functions of policies over options. We provide a stochastic approximation algorithm for incrementally learning UOMs from data and prove its consistency. We demonstrate our method in two domains. The first domain is document recommendation, where each user query defines a new reward function and a document's relevance is the expected return of a simulated random-walk through the document's references. The second domain is a real-time strategy game, where the controller must select the best game unit to accomplish dynamically-specified tasks. Our experiments show that UOMs are substantially more efficient in evaluating option returns and policies than previously known methods.

Author Information

hengshuai yao (University of Alberta)
Csaba Szepesvari (University of Alberta)
Richard Sutton (DeepMind, U Alberta)

Richard S. Sutton is a professor and iCORE chair in the department of computing science at the University of Alberta. He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and co-author of the textbook "Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction" from MIT Press. Before joining the University of Alberta in 2003, he worked in industry at AT&T and GTE Labs, and in academia at the University of Massachusetts. He received a PhD in computer science from the University of Massachusetts in 1984 and a BA in psychology from Stanford University in 1978. Rich's research interests center on the learning problems facing a decision-maker interacting with its environment, which he sees as central to artificial intelligence. He is also interested in animal learning psychology, in connectionist networks, and generally in systems that continually improve their representations and models of the world.

Joseph Modayil (University of Alberta)
Shalabh Bhatnagar (Indian Institute of Science)

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