Discrete-action algorithms have been central to numerous recent successes of deep reinforcement learning. However, applying these algorithms to high-dimensional action tasks requires tackling the combinatorial increase of the number of possible actions with the number of action dimensions. This problem is further exacerbated for continuous-action tasks that require fine control of actions via discretization. In this paper, we propose a novel neural architecture featuring a shared decision module followed by several network branches, one for each action dimension. This approach achieves a linear increase of the number of network outputs with the number of degrees of freedom by allowing a level of independence for each individual action dimension. To illustrate the approach, we present a novel agent, called Branching Dueling Q-Network (BDQ), as a branching variant of the Dueling Double Deep Q-Network (Dueling DDQN). We evaluate the performance of our agent on a set of challenging continuous control tasks. The empirical results show that the proposed agent scales gracefully to environments with increasing action dimensionality and indicate the significance of the shared decision module in coordination of the distributed action branches. Furthermore, we show that the proposed agent performs competitively against a state-of-the-art continuous control algorithm, Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG).
Published Date: 2018-02-08
Registration: ISSN 2374-3468 (Online) ISSN 2159-5399 (Print)
Copyright: Published by AAAI Press, Palo Alto, California USA Copyright © 2018, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence All Rights Reserved.