Questions tagged [markov-decision-process]

For questions related to the concept of Markov decision process (MDP), which is a mathematical framework for modeling decision making in situations where outcomes are partly random and partly under the control of a decision-maker. The concept of MDP is useful for studying optimization problems solved via dynamic programming and reinforcement learning.

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48 views

What is the difference between environment states and agent states in terms of Markov property?

I'm going through the David Silver RL course on YouTube. He talks about environment internal state $S^e_t$, and agent internal state $S^a_t$. We know that state $s$ is Markov if $\mathbb{P}\{S_t=s|S_{...
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1answer
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What would happen to an agent trained using Markov Decision Process if the goal node changes?

I was reading up a paper that did routing based on an MDP, and I was wondering because, in routing, there is a sender node and a receiver node, so if the receiver node changes (sending a message to ...
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1answer
19 views

Does optimal policy implies deterministic?

Let M be an MDP with two states, A, B, A is the starting state and you always transit to the final state B using two possible actions. $A1$ gives you rewards which are normally distributed N(0, 1) and ...
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0answers
29 views

Is there any reasonable notion of regret for infinite horizon discounted MDPs?

I am thinking about episodic MDPs. Usually, in episodic MDPs, it seems that we have a finite fixed horizon per episode and no discount factor. Then, a very intuitive notion of regret after $T$ ...
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2answers
181 views

Does the policy iteration convergence hold for finite-horizon MDP?

Most RL books (Sutton & Barto, Bertsekas, etc.) talk about policy iteration for infinite-horizon MDPs. Does the policy iteration convergence hold for finite-horizon MDP? If yes, how can we derive ...
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1answer
21 views

Is there a way of path reconstruction using only the history of belief state?

Given a history of belief states, is there a common method that backtracks the most likely path of ending up in the current belief state? I have a Markov model which calculates belief states after ...
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57 views

Relation between discounted MDP and stochastic shortest path problems in RL

I have been reading about discounted MDPs and Stochastic Shortest Path (SSP). I recently came to know (from a friend) that every discounted MDP can be converted to an equivalent SSP but not the other ...
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1answer
124 views

What is ergodicity in a Markov Decision Process (MDP)?

I have read about the concept of ergodicity on the safe RL paper by Moldovan (section 3.2) and the RL book by Sutton (chapter 10.3, 2nd paragraph). The first one says that "a belief over MDPs is ...
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1answer
63 views

Do we have to consider the feasability of an action when defining the reward function of a MDP?

Do we have to consider if (s is given) an action a can lead to s' when defining a reward function? To be more specific: Let's say I have a 1D Map like: |A|B|C|D| ...
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27 views

Double DQN backpropagation of negative final rewards?

My problem is that in my Double DQN model, negative final rewards are not being backpropagated into action Q-values, and so some Q-values are positive, when they should be negative, and hence ...
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33 views

Why do we discount the state distribution?

In Reinforcement Learning, it is common to use a discount factor $\gamma$ to give less importance to future rewards when calculating the returns. I have also seen mention of discounted state ...
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1answer
41 views

Given a sequence of states followed by the agent, is it possible to find the Q-value for a state-action pair not in this sequence?

Assume you are given a sequence of states followed by the agent, generated by a random policy, $[s_0, s_1, s_2, \dots, s_n]$. Furthermore, assume the MDP is fully observable and time is discrete. Is ...
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38 views

How is $v_*(s) = \max_{\pi} v_\pi(s)$ also applicable in the case of stochastic policies?

I am reading Sutton & Bartos's Book "Introduction to reinforcement learning". In this book, the defined the optimal value function as: $$v_*(s) = \max_{\pi} v_\pi(s),$$ for all $s \in \...
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1answer
73 views

Reinforcement Learning for an environment that is non-markovian

I am a beginner in the field of Reinforcement Learning with only a couple of months of experience being in the field. Soon, I will start working on a project where we want to optimize the production ...
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2answers
83 views

Why is the optimal policy for an infinite horizon MDP deterministic?

Could someone please help me gain some intuition as to why the optimal policy for a Markov Decision Process in the infinite horizon case (agent acts forever) is deterministic?
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7 views

What is an appropriate stop criteria for training on a non-stationary environment in reinforcement learning?

I'm currently studying reinforcement learning (RL) and would like to understand non-stationary environments better. So for stationary environments, the Q-values of all state-action pairs converge ...
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2answers
781 views

Is Monte Carlo Tree Search appropriate for problems with large state and action spaces?

I'm doing a research on a finite-horizon Markov decision process with $t=1, \dots, 40$ periods. In every time step $t$, the (only) agent has to chose an action $a(t) \in A(t)$, while the agent is in ...
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2answers
77 views

Is there a natural way to define the terminal state from the MDP transition probabilities $p(s',r|s,a)$?

I'm learning the basics of RL and I'm struggling to understand the notion of terminal state in MDPs. To ask my question straightforwardly: is there a natural way to define the terminal state from the ...
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22 views

Are there any known disadvantages of implementing vanilla Q-learning on a discretized-state space environment?

For an RL problem on a continuous state space, the states could be discretized into buckets and these buckets used in implementing the Q-table. I see that is what is done here. However, according to ...
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1answer
69 views

What is a good convergence criterion for Q-learning in a stochastic environment?

I have a stochastic environment and I'm implementing a Q-table for the learning that happens on the environment. The code is shown below. In short, there are ten states (0, 1, 2,...,9), and three ...
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1answer
82 views

Does stochasticity of an environment necessarily mean non-stationarity in MDPs?

Is a stochastic environment necessarily also non-stationary? To elaborate, consider a two-state environment ($s_1$ and $s_2$), with two actions $a_1$ and $a_2$. In $s_1$, taking action $a_1$ has a ...
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1answer
82 views

What is the difference between Bayes-adaptive MDP and a Belief-MDP in Reinforcement Learning?

I have been reading a few papers in this area recently and I keep coming across these two terms. As far as I'm aware, Belief-MDPs are when you cast a POMDP as a regular MDP with a continuous state ...
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1answer
70 views

Why can we take the action $a$ from the next state $s'$ in the max part of the Q-learning update rule, if that action doesn't lead to any reward?

I'm using OpenAI's cartpole environment. First of all, is this environment not Markov? Knowing that, my main question concerns Q-learning and off-policy methods: For me, there is something weird in ...
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1answer
121 views

How can we find the value function by solving a system of linear equations without knowing the policy?

An MDP is a Markov Reward Process with decisions, it’s an environment in which all states are Markov. This is what we want to solve. An MDP is a tuple $(S, A, P, R, \gamma)$, where $S$ is our state ...
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2answers
61 views

Should we feed a greater fraction of terminal states to the value network so that their values are learned first?

The basis of Q-learning is recursive (similar to dynamic programming), where only the absolute value of the terminal state is known. Shouldn't it make sense to feed the model a greater proportion of ...
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0answers
36 views

What trait of a planning problem makes reinforcement learning a well suited solution?

Planning problems have been the first problems studied at the dawn of AI (Shakey the robot). Graph search (e.g. A*) and planning (e.g. GraphPlan) algorithms can be very efficient at generating a plan. ...
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1answer
60 views

How should I implement the state transition when it is a Gaussian distribution?

I am reading this paper Anxiety, Avoidance and Sequential Evaluation and is confused about the implementation of a specific lab study. Namely, the authors model what is called the Balloon task using a ...
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1answer
63 views

How can I go from $R(s)$ to $R(s,a)$ in this specific MDP?

I'm trying to implement a research paper, as explained in this other post, here the author of the paper assumed R as a function of both states and actions, while the code (and the MDP) I'm using to ...
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1answer
162 views

How to fill in missing transitions when sampling an MDP transition table?

I have a simulator modelling a relatively complex scenario. I extract ~12 discrete features from the simulator state which forms the basis for my MDP state space. Suppose I am estimating the ...
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2answers
252 views

How are the reward functions $R(s)$, $R(s, a)$ and $R(s, a, s')$ equivalent?

In this video, the lecturer states that $R(s)$, $R(s, a)$ and $R(s, a, s')$ are equivalent representations of the reward function. Intuitively, this is the case, according to the same lecturer, ...
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1answer
945 views

Is my understanding of the differences between MDP, Semi MDP and POMDP correct?

I just wanted to confirm that my understanding of the different Markov Decision Processes are correct, because they are the fundamentals of reinforcement learning. Also, I read a few literature ...
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2answers
154 views

Are perfect and imperfect information games modelled as fully and partially observable environments, respectively?

In perfect information games, the agent can see all the moves performed in the past. Besides, it can observe the next action that will be put into practice by the opponent. In this case, can we say ...
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1answer
270 views

Why does having a fixed policy change a Markov Decision Process to a Markov Reward Process?

If a policy is fixed, it is said that a Markov Decision Process (MDP) becomes a Markov Reward Process (MRP). Why is this so? Aren't the transitions and rewards still parameterized by the action and ...
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1answer
280 views

How do I convert an MDP with the reward function in the form $R(s,a,s')$ to and an MDP with a reward function in the form $R(s,a)$?

The AIMA book has an exercise about showing that an MDP with rewards of the form $r(s, a, s')$ can be converted to an MDP with rewards $r(s, a)$, and to an MDP with rewards $r(s)$ with equivalent ...
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1answer
91 views

Can you convert a MDP problem to a Contextual Multi-Arm Bandits problem?

I'm trying to get a better understanding of Multi-Arm Bandits, Contextual Multi-Arm Bandits and Markov Decision Process. Basically, Multi-Arm Bandits is a special case of Contextual Multi-Arm Bandits ...
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1answer
801 views

What is the reward system of reinforcement learning?

Can you describe this reward system in more detail? I understand that the environment sends a signal indicating whether or not the action taken by the agent was 'good' or not, but it seems too simple. ...
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2answers
2k views

What is a time-step in a Markov Decision Process?

The "discounted sum of future rewards" (or return) using discount factor $\gamma$ is $$\gamma^1 r_1 +\gamma^2 r_2 + \gamma^3 r_2 + \dots \tag{1}\label{1}$$ where $r_i$ is the reward received ...
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0answers
23 views

Does there necessarily exist “dominated actions” in a MDP?

In a Markov Decision Process, is it possible that there exists no "dominated action"? I define a dominated action the following way: we say that $(s,a)$ is a dominated action, if $\forall \...
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0answers
115 views

What is a generalized MDP?

What is a generalized MDP? Here are a few sub-questions. How is it different than a "regular" MDP? How does it generalize the notion of an MDP? Why do we need a generalized MDP? Do ...
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1answer
62 views

How can I model a problem as an MDP if the agent does not follow the successive order of states?

In my problem, the agent does not follow the successive order of states, but selects with $\epsilon$-greedy the best pair (state, action) from a priority queue. More specifically, when my agent goes ...
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0answers
23 views

Understanding example for Improved Policy Iteration for POMDPs

I was going through this paper by Hansen. This paper proposes policy improvement by first converting set of $\alpha$ vectors into finite state controller and then comparing them to obtain improved ...
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1answer
45 views

When we have multiple traces, do we average over traces or the total number of times we have visited that state?

I am confused about the workings of the first- and every-visit MC. My first question is, when we have multiple traces, do we average over traces or the total number of times we have visited that state?...
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1answer
36 views

Why is it useful to define the return as the sum of the rewards from time $t$ onward rather than up to $t$?

Why is it useful to define the return as the sum of the rewards from time $t$ onward rather than up to $t$? The return for an MDP is usually defined as $$G_t=R_{t+1}+R_{t+2}+ \dots +R_T$$ Why is this ...
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1answer
304 views

What techniques are used to make MDP discrete state space manageable?

Generating a discretized state space for an MDP (Markov Decision Process) model seems to suffer from the curse of dimensionality. Supposed my state has a few simple features: Feeling: Happy/Neutral/...
5
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1answer
65 views

Is the agent aware of a possible different set of actions for each state?

I have a use case where the set of actions is different for different states. Is the agent aware of what actions are valid for each state, or is the agent only aware of the entire action space (in ...
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0answers
49 views

Can $Q$-learning or SARSA be thought of a Markov Chain?

I might just be overthinking a very simple question but nonetheless the following has been bugging me a lot. Given an MDP with non-trivial state and action sets, we can implement the SARSA algorithm ...
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2answers
10k views

How to define states in reinforcement learning?

I am studying reinforcement learning and the variants of it. I am starting to get an understanding of how the algorithms work and how they apply to an MDP. What I don't understand is the process of ...
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1answer
313 views

Can the rewards be stochastic when the transition model is deterministic?

Suppose we have a deterministic environment where knowing $s,a$ determines $s'$. Is it possible to get two different rewards $r\neq r'$ in some state $s_{\text{fixed}}$? Assume that $s_{\text{fixed}}$ ...
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1answer
335 views

How can I encode states where the environment consists of multiple identical elements, but each is characterised by different features?

I am quite new to Deep Reinforcement Learning, and I'm trying to define states in a Reinforcement Learning problem. The environment consists of multiple identical elements, and each one of them is ...
4
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1answer
205 views

Is the state transition matrix known to the agents in a Markov decision processes?

The question is more or less in the title. A Markov decision process consists of a state space, a set of actions, the transition probabilities and the reward function. If I now take an agent's point ...