AAAI Publications, Twenty-Fourth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Integrating Sample-Based Planning and Model-Based Reinforcement Learning
Thomas J. Walsh, Sergiu Goschin, Michael L. Littman

Last modified: 2010-07-03


Recent advancements in model-based reinforcement learning have shown that the dynamics of many structured domains (e.g. DBNs) can be learned with tractable sample complexity, despite their exponentially large state spaces. Unfortunately, these algorithms all require access to a planner that computes a near optimal policy, and while many traditional MDP algorithms make this guarantee, their computation time grows with the number of states. We show how to replace these over-matched planners with a class of sample-based planners — whose computation time is independent of the number of states — without sacrificing the sample-efficiency guarantees of the overall learning algorithms. To do so, we define sufficient criteria for a sample-based planner to be used in such a learning system and analyze two popular sample-based approaches from the literature. We also introduce our own sample-based planner, which combines the strategies from these algorithms and still meets the criteria for integration into our learning system. In doing so, we define the first complete RL solution for compactly represented (exponentially sized) state spaces with efficiently learnable dynamics that is both sample efficient and whose computation time does not grow rapidly with the number of states.


reinforcement learning; sample-based planning; markov decision process

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