Reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms have been successfully applied to a range of challenging sequential decision making and control tasks. In this paper, we classify RL into direct and indirect methods according to how they seek optimal policy of the Markov Decision Process (MDP) problem. The former solves optimal policy by directly maximizing an objective function using gradient descent method, in which the objective function is usually the expectation of accumulative future rewards. The latter indirectly finds the optimal policy by solving the Bellman equation, which is the sufficient and necessary condition from Bellman's principle of optimality. We take vanilla policy gradient and approximate policy iteration to study their internal relationship, and reveal that both direct and indirect methods can be unified in actor-critic architecture and are equivalent if we always choose stationary state distribution of current policy as initial state distribution of MDP. Finally, we classify the current mainstream RL algorithms and compare the differences between other criteria including value-based and policy-based, model-based and model-free.
Maximum entropy deep reinforcement learning (RL) methods have been demonstrated on a range of challenging continuous tasks. However, existing methods either suffer from severe instability when training on large off-policy data or cannot scale to tasks with very high state and action dimensionality such as 3D humanoid locomotion. Besides, the optimality of desired Boltzmann policy set for non-optimal soft value function is not persuasive enough. In this paper, we first derive soft policy gradient based on entropy regularized expected reward objective for RL with continuous actions. Then, we present an off-policy actor-critic, model-free maximum entropy deep RL algorithm called deep soft policy gradient (DSPG) by combining soft policy gradient with soft Bellman equation. To ensure stable learning while eliminating the need of two separate critics for soft value functions, we leverage double sampling approach to making the soft Bellman equation tractable. The experimental results demonstrate that our method outperforms in performance over off-policy prior methods.
Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) has made great achievements since proposed. Generally, DRL agents receive high-dimensional inputs at each step, and make actions according to deep-neural-network-based policies. This learning mechanism updates the policy to maximize the return with an end-to-end method. In this paper, we survey the progress of DRL methods, including value-based, policy gradient, and model-based algorithms, and compare their main techniques and properties. Besides, DRL plays an important role in game artificial intelligence (AI). We also take a review of the achievements of DRL in various video games, including classical Arcade games, first-person perspective games and multi-agent real-time strategy games, from 2D to 3D, and from single-agent to multi-agent. A large number of video game AIs with DRL have achieved super-human performance, while there are still some challenges in this domain. Therefore, we also discuss some key points when applying DRL methods to this field, including exploration-exploitation, sample efficiency, generalization and transfer, multi-agent learning, imperfect information, and delayed spare rewards, as well as some research directions.
Since the recent advent of deep reinforcement learning for game play and simulated robotic control, a multitude of new algorithms have flourished. Most are model-free algorithms which can be categorized into three families: deep Q-learning, policy gradients, and Q-value policy gradients. These have developed along separate lines of research, such that few, if any, code bases incorporate all three kinds. Yet these algorithms share a great depth of common deep reinforcement learning machinery. We are pleased to share rlpyt, which implements all three algorithm families on top of a shared, optimized infrastructure, in a single repository. It contains modular implementations of many common deep RL algorithms in Python using PyTorch, a leading deep learning library. rlpyt is designed as a high-throughput code base for small- to medium-scale research in deep RL. This white paper summarizes its features, algorithms implemented, and relation to prior work, and concludes with detailed implementation and usage notes. rlpyt is available at https://github.com/astooke/rlpyt.
Deep reinforcement learning has gathered much attention recently. Impressive results were achieved in activities as diverse as autonomous driving, game playing, molecular recombination, and robotics. In all these fields, computer programs have taught themselves to solve difficult problems. They have learned to fly model helicopters and perform aerobatic manoeuvers such as loops and rolls. In some applications they have even become better than the best humans, such as in Atari, Go, poker and StarCraft. The way in which deep reinforcement learning explores complex environments reminds us of how children learn, by playfully trying out things, getting feedback, and trying again. The computer seems to truly possess aspects of human learning; this goes to the heart of the dream of artificial intelligence. The successes in research have not gone unnoticed by educators, and universities have started to offer courses on the subject. The aim of this book is to provide a comprehensive overview of the field of deep reinforcement learning. The book is written for graduate students of artificial intelligence, and for researchers and practitioners who wish to better understand deep reinforcement learning methods and their challenges. We assume an undergraduate-level of understanding of computer science and artificial intelligence; the programming language of this book is Python. We describe the foundations, the algorithms and the applications of deep reinforcement learning. We cover the established model-free and model-based methods that form the basis of the field. Developments go quickly, and we also cover advanced topics: deep multi-agent reinforcement learning, deep hierarchical reinforcement learning, and deep meta learning.