# 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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### 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 ...
520 views

### How to stay a up-to-date researcher in ML/RL community?

As a student who wants to work on machine learning, I would like to know how it is possible to start my studies and how to follow it to stay up-to-date. For example, I am willing to work on RL and MAB ...
2k views

### How can you represent the state and action spaces for a card game in the case of a variable number of cards and actions?

I know how a machine can learn to play Atari games (Breakout): Playing Atari with Reinforcement Learning. With the same technique, it is even possible to play FPS games (Doom): Playing FPS Games with ...
335 views

### What are some resources on continuous state and action spaces MDPs for reinforcement learning?

Most introductions to the field of MDPs and Reinforcement learning focus exclusively on domains where space and action variables are integers (and finite). This way we are introduced quickly to Value ...
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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### 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 ...
306 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/...
202 views

### Benchmarks for reinforcement learning in discrete MDPs

To compare the performance of various algorithms for perfect information games, reasonable benchmarks include reversi and m,n,k-games (generalized tic-tac-toe). For imperfect information games, ...
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 ...
2k views

### Can Q-learning be used in a POMDP?

Can Q-learning (and SARSA) be directly used in a Partially Observable Markov Decision Process (POMDP)? If not, why not? My intuition is that the policies learned will be terrible because of partial ...
120 views

### Interesting examples of discrete stochastic games

SGs are a generalization of MDPs to multiple agents. Like this previous question on MDPs, are there any interesting examples of zero-sum, discrete SGs—preferably with small state and action spaces? I'...
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, ...
600 views

### Why am I getting the incorrect value of lambda?

I am trying to solve for $\lambda$ using temporal-difference learning. More specifically, I am trying to figure out what $\lambda$ I need, such that $\text{TD}(\lambda)=\text{TD}(1)$, after one ...
162 views

### Reinforcement learning with uniformly random dynamics

Suppose I have an MDP $(S, A, p, R)$ where the $p(s_j|s_i,a_i)$ is uniform, i.e given an state $s_i$ and an action $a_i$ all states $s_j$ are equally probable. Now I want to find an optimal policy ...
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 ...
127 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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### How can we use linear programming to solve an MDP?

Apparently, we can solve an MDP (that is, we can find the optimal policy for a given MDP) using a linear programming formulation. What's the basic idea behind this approach? I think you should start ...
183 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 ...
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 ...
113 views

### Should I model my problem as a semi-MDP?

I have a system (like a bank) that people (customers) are entered into the systems by a Poisson process, so the time between the arrival of people (two consecutive customers) will be a random variable....
207 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 ...
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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### Why is learning $s'$ from $s,a$ a kernel density estimation problem but learning $r$ from $s,a$ is just regression?

In David Silver's 8th lecture he talks about model learning and says that learning $r$ from $s,a$ is a regression problem whereas learning $s'$ from $s,a$ is a kernel density estimation. His ...
155 views

Problem Statement : I have a system with four states - S1 through S4 where S1 is the beginning state and S4 is the end/terminal state. The next state is always better than the previous state i.e if ...
60 views

### Can I have different rewards for a single action based on which state it transitions to?

I am working on an MDP where there are four states and ten actions. I am supposed to derive the optimal policy to reach the desired state. At any state, a particular action can take you to any of the ...
460 views

### Difference in continuing and episodic cases in Sutton and Barto - Introduction to RL, exercise 3.5

Excercise 3.5 The equastions in Section 3.1 are for the continuing case and need to be modified (very slightly) to apply to episodic tasks. Show that you know the modifications needed by giving ...
1k views

### When is the Markov decision process not adequate for goal-directed learning tasks?

In the book Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction (Sutton and Barto, 2018). The authors ask Exercise 3.2: Is the MDP framework adequate to usefully represent all goal-directed learning tasks? ...
272 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 ...
48 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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### 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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### Relationship between the reward rate and the sampled reward in a Semi-Markov Decision Process

In the paper: Reinforcement learning methods for continuous-time Markov decision problems, the authors provide the following update rule for the Q-learning algorithm, when applied to Semi-Markov ...
105 views

### How is the state-visitation frequency computed in “Maximum Entropy Inverse Reinforcement Learning”?

I am trying to understand the formulation of the maximum entropy Inverse RL method by Brian Ziebart. Particularly, I am stuck on how to understand the computation of state - visitation frequencies. ...
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### Are there reinforcement learning algorithms not based on Markov decision processes?

Are all RL algorithms based on the MDP? If not, could you give examples of some which aren't? I've looked elsewhere, but I haven't seen it explicitly said.
In Section 10.4 of Sutton and Barto's RL book, they argue that the discount rate $\gamma$ has no effect in continuing settings. They show (at least for one objective function) that the average of the ...