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Workshop: Adaptive Experimental Design and Active Learning in the Real World

Efficient and scalable reinforcement learning via Hypermodel

Yingru Li · Jiawei Xu · Zhi-Quan Luo


Data-efficient reinforcement learning(RL) requires deep exploration. Thompson sampling is a principled method for deep exploration in reinforcement learning. However, Thompson sampling need to track the degree of uncertainty by maintaining the posterior distribution of models, which is computationally feasible only in simple environments with restrictive assumptions. A key problem in modern RL is how to develop data and computation efficient algorithm that is scalable to large-scale complex environments. We develop a principled framework, called HyperFQI, to tackle both the computation and data efficiency issues. HyperFQI can be regarded as approximate Thompson sampling for reinforcement learning based on hypermodel. Hypermodel in this context serves as the role for uncertainty estimation of action-value function. HyperFQI demonstrates its ability for efficient and scalable deep exploration in DeepSea benchmark with large state space. HyperFQI also achieves super-human performance in Atari benchmark with low computation costs and low data consumption. We also give a rigorous performance analysis for the proposed method, justifying its computation and data efficiency. To the best of knowledge, this is the first principled RL algorithm that is provably efficient and also practically scalable to complex environments such as Arcade learning environment that requires deep networks for pixel-based control.

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