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Pitfall of Optimism: Distributional Reinforcement Learning by Randomizing Risk Criterion

Taehyun Cho · Seungyub Han · Heesoo Lee · Kyungjae Lee · Jungwoo Lee

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1506
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[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Thu 14 Dec 3 p.m. PST — 5 p.m. PST


Distributional reinforcement learning algorithms have attempted to utilize estimated uncertainty for exploration, such as optimism in the face of uncertainty. However, using the estimated variance for optimistic exploration may cause biased data collection and hinder convergence or performance. In this paper, we present a novel distributional reinforcement learning that selects actions by randomizing risk criterion without losing the risk-neutral objective. We provide a perturbed distributional Bellman optimality operator by distorting the risk measure. Also,we prove the convergence and optimality of the proposed method with the weaker contraction property. Our theoretical results support that the proposed method does not fall into biased exploration and is guaranteed to converge to an optimal return. Finally, we empirically show that our method outperforms other existing distribution-based algorithms in various environments including Atari 55 games.

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