Questions tagged [importance-sampling]

For questions related to the concept of importance sampling (which comes up, for example, in reinforcement learning).

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Should the importance sampling ratio be updated at the end of the for loop in the off-policy Monte Carlo control algorithm?

I'm studying RL with Sutton and Barto's book. I'd like to ask about the order of execution of a statement in the algorithm below. Here, $W$ (importance sampling ratio) is updated at the end of the <...
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accessible subset of data impacts performance

I have a problem with a subset of my data which is as follows: I can train a model (doesn't matter what, xgboost, BERT, etc., it is a text classification problem), on my data and get a decent ...
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1answer
29 views

How is trajectory sampling different than normal (importance) sampling in reinforcement learning?

I am using Sutton and Barto's book for Reinforcement Learning. In Chapter 8, I am having difficulty in understanding the Trajectory Sampling. I have read the particular section on trajectory sampling (...
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26 views

Why is it the case that off - policy evaluation using importance sampling suffers from high variance?

The average return for trajectories, $V^{\pi_e}$(s) is often computed via the importance sampling estimate $$V^{\pi_e}(s) = \frac{1}{n}\sum_{i=1}^n\prod_{t=0}^{H}\frac{\pi_e(a_t | s_t)}{\pi_b(a_t|s_t)}...
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Does the off-policy evaluation work for non-stationary policies?

As the title says, in reinforcement learning, does the off-policy evaluation work for non-stationary policies? For example, IS (importance sampling)-based estimators, such as weighted IS or doubly ...
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1answer
75 views

Why we don't use importance sampling in tabular Q-Learning?

Why don't we use an importance sampling ratio in Q-Learning, even though Q-Learning is an off-policy method? Importance sampling is used to calculate expectation of a random variable by using data ...
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64 views

How is per-decision importance sampling derived in Sutton & Barto's book?

In per-decison importance sampling given in Sutton & Barto's book: Eq 5.12 $\rho_{t:T-1}R_{t+k} = \frac{\pi(A_{t}|S_{t})}{b(A_{t}|S_{t})}\frac{\pi(A_{t+1}|S_{t+1})}{b(A_{t+1}|S_{t+1})}\frac{\pi(...
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40 views

Why does the n-step return being zero result in high variance in off policy n-step TD?

In the paragraph given between eq 7.12 and 7.13 in Sutton & Barto's book: $G_{t:h} = R_{t+1} + G_{t+1:h} , t < h < T$ where $G_{h:h} = V_{h-1}(S_h)$. (Recall that this return is used at ...
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45 views

Can weighted importance sampling be applied to off-policy evaluation for continuous state space MDPs?

Can weighted importance sampling (WIS) and importance sampling (IS) be applied to off-policy evaluation for continuous state spaces MDPs? Given that I have trajectories of $(s_t,a_t)$ pairs and the ...
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70 views

What is the intuition behind importance sampling for off-policy value evaluation?

The technique for off-policy value evaluation comes from importance sampling, which states that $$E_{x \sim q}[f(x)] \approx \frac{1}{n}\sum_{i=1}^n f(x_i)\frac{q(x_i)}{p(x_i)},$$ where $x_i$ is ...
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307 views

How can we compute the ratio between the distributions if we don't know one of the distributions?

Here is my understanding of importance sampling. If we have two distributions $p(x)$ and $q(x)$, where we have a way of sampling from $p(x)$ but not from $q(x)$, but we want to compute the expectation ...
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46 views

How is the incremental update rule derived from the weighted importance sampling in off-policy Monte Carlo control?

Here's the approximated value using weighted importance sampling $$ V_{n} \doteq \frac{\sum_{k=1}^{n-1} W_{k} G_{k}}{\sum_{k=1}^{n-1} W_{k}}, \quad n \geq 2 $$ Here's the incremental update rule for ...
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Importance sampling eq. 5 in paper “Residual Energy-based Models for Text Generation”

In the paper "Residual Energy-Based Models for Text Generation" (arXiv), on page 5, they write that equation 5 is an instance of importance sampling. Equation 5 is: $$ P(x_t \mid x_{<t}) = P_{LM}(...
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35 views

Can the importance sampling estimator have a non-stationary behaviour policy even if the target policy is stationary?

The inverse propensity score (IPS) estimator, which is used for off-policy evaluation in a contextual bandit problem, is well explained in the paper Doubly Robust Policy Evaluation and Optimization. ...
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36 views

Can we use imitation learning for on-policy algorithms?

Imitation learning uses experiences of an (expert) agent to train another agent, in my understanding. If I want to use an on-policy algorithm, for example, Proximal Policy Optimization, because of it'...
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44 views

Are successive actions independent?

The proof of the consistency of the per-decision importance sampling estimator assumes the independence of $$\frac{\pi(A_t|S_t)}{b(A_t|S_t)}R_{t+1}\quad\text{ and }\quad \prod_{k=t+1}^{T-1}\frac{\pi(...
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199 views

In the context of importance sampling ratio, how is the equation $\mathbb{E}\left[\rho_{t: T-1} G_{t} | S_{t}=s\right]=v_{\pi}(s)$ derived?

When reading the book by Sutton and Barto, I came across the importance sampling ratio. The first equation, I believe, describes the probability a particular sequence is obtained given the current ...
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1answer
113 views

Do we need the transition probability function when calculating the importance sampling ratio?

I am reading the book titled "Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction" (by Sutton and Barto). I am at chapter 5, which is about Monte Carlo methods, but now I am quite confused. There is one thing I ...
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What is sample efficiency, and how can importance sampling be used to achieve it?

For instance, the title of this paper reads: "Sample Efficient Actor-Critic with Experience Replay". What is sample efficiency, and how can importance sampling be used to achieve it?