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Questions tagged [policies]

For questions related to policies (as defined in reinforcement learning or other AI sub-fields).

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14
votes
4answers
3k views

What does "stationary" mean in the context of reinforcement learning?

I think I've seen the expressions "stationary data", "stationary dynamics" and "stationary policy", among others, in the context of reinforcement learning. What does it mean? I think stationary policy ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the optimal policy always stochastic if the environment is also stochastic?

Is the optimal policy always stochastic (that is, a map from states to a probability distribution over actions) if the environment is also stochastic? Intuitively, if the environment is ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the difference between a stationary and a non-stationary policy?

In reinforcement learning, there are deterministic and non-deterministic (or stochastic) policies, but there are also stationary and non-stationary policies. What is the difference between a ...
6
votes
1answer
125 views

How do I compute the variance of the return of an evaluation policy using two behaviour policies?

Suppose there is an evaluation policy called $\pi_{e}$ and there are two behavior policies $\pi_{b1}$ and $\pi_{b2}$. I know that it is possible to estimate the return of policy $\pi_{e}$ through ...
5
votes
2answers
327 views

Given two optimal policies, is an affine combination of them also optimal?

If there are two different optimal policies $\pi_1, \pi_2$ in a reinforcement learning task, will the linear combination (or affine combination) of the two policies $\alpha \pi_1 + \beta \pi_2, \alpha ...
5
votes
0answers
50 views

Proof that there always exists a dominating policy in an MDP

I think that it is common knowledge that for any infinite horizon discounted MDP $(S, A, P, r, \gamma)$, there always exists a dominating policy $\pi$, i.e. a policy $\pi$ such that for all policies $\...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the difference between a stochastic and a deterministic policy?

In reinforcement learning, there are the concepts of stochastic (or probabilistic) and deterministic policies. What is the difference between them?
4
votes
1answer
187 views

What is the relation between a policy which is the solution to a MDP and a policy like $\epsilon$-greedy?

In the context of reinforcement learning, a policy, $\pi$, is often defined as a function from the space of states, $\mathcal{S}$, to the space of actions, $\mathcal{A}$, that is, $\pi : \mathcal{S} \...
4
votes
1answer
426 views

A few questions regarding the difference between policy iteration and value iteration [closed]

The question already has some answer. But I am still finding it quite unclear (also does $\pi(s)$ here mean $q(s,a)$ ?): The few things I do not understand are: Why the difference between 2 ...
4
votes
2answers
120 views

Why is having low variance important in offline policy evaluation of reinforcement learning?

Intuitively, I understand that having an unbiased estimate of a policy is important because being biased just means that our estimate is distant from the truth value. However, I don't understand ...
4
votes
1answer
222 views

An example of a unique value function which is associated with multiple optimal policies

In the 4th paragraph of http://www.incompleteideas.net/book/ebook/node37.html it is mentioned: Whereas the optimal value functions for states and state-action pairs are unique for a given MDP, ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

Are there some notions of distance between two policies?

I want to determine some distance between two policies $\pi_1 (a \mid s)$ and $\pi_2 (a \mid s)$, i.e. something like $\vert \vert \pi_1 (a \mid s) - \pi_2(a \mid s) \vert \vert$, where $\pi_i (a\mid ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

In reinforcement learning, why are policies defined as functions of states and not observations?

I am new to RL and I am following Sutton & Barto's book. My doubt is, when we talk about the policy of our agent, we say it is the probability of taking some action $a$ given the state $s$. ...
3
votes
1answer
139 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

What is meant by "generate the data" in describing the difference between on-policy and off-policy?

From the book: Sutton, Richard S.,Barto, Andrew G.. Reinforcement Learning (Adaptive Computation and Machine Learning series) (p. 100). The MIT Press. Kindle Edition. " following is stated: "...
3
votes
2answers
249 views

What is the difference between a non-stationary policy and a state that stores time?

This question is related to What does "stationary" mean in the context of reinforcement learning?, but I have a more specific question to clarify the difference between a non-stationary ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Why do we have two similar action selection strategies for UCB1?

In the literature, there are at least two action selection strategies associated with the UCB1's action selection strategy/policy. For example, in the paper Algorithms for the multi-armed bandit ...
3
votes
1answer
282 views

Why do RL implementations converge on one action?

I have seen this happening in implementations of state-of-the-art RL algorithms where the model converges to a single action over time after multiple training iterations. Are there some general ...
3
votes
1answer
178 views

Can someone please help me validate my MDP?

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
107 views

How does the AlphaGo Zero policy decide what move to execute?

I was going through the AlphaGo Zero paper and I was trying to understand everything, but I just can't figure out this one formula: $$ \pi(a \mid s_0) = \frac{N(s_0, a)^{\frac{1}{\tau}}}{\sum_b N(s_0,...
3
votes
1answer
513 views

Why do value iteration and policy iteration obtain similar policies even though they have different value functions?

I am trying to implement value and policy iteration algorithms. My value function from policy iteration looks vastly different from the values from value iteration, but the policy obtained from both ...
3
votes
1answer
306 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
48 views

Representation of state space, action space and reward system for Reinforcement Learning problem

I am trying to solve the problem of an agent dynamically discovering(start with no information about the environment) the environment and to explore as much of the environment as possible without ...
2
votes
2answers
208 views

Why is the policy not a part of the MDP definition?

I'm reading an article on reinforcement learning, and I don't understand why the agent's policy $\pi$ is not part of definition of Markov Decision process(MDP): Bu, Lucian, Robert Babu, and Bart De ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

Why must the value of a state under an optimal policy equal the expected return for the best action from that state?

The Sutton and Barto reinforcement learning textbook states that the value of a state under an optimal policy must equal the expected return for the best action from that state. That is, $$v_*(s) = \...
2
votes
1answer
192 views

What is a "learned policy" in Q-learning?

I am completing an assignment at the moment. One of the assignment questions asks how you identified the learned policy and how you obtained it. The question is a reinforcement learning question, and ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Why doesn't value iteration use $\pi(a \mid s)$ while policy evaluation does?

I was looking at the Bellman equation, and I noticed a difference between the equations used in policy evaluation and value iteration. In policy evaluation, there was the presence of $\pi(a \mid s)$, ...
2
votes
2answers
243 views

Is my understanding of the value function, Q function, policy, reward and return correct?

I'm a beginner in the RL field, and I would like to check that my understanding of certain RL concepts. Value function: How good it is to be in a state S following policy π. ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Is it common to have extreme policy's probabilities?

I have implemented several policy gradient algorithms (REINFORCE, A2C, and PPO) and am finding that the resultant policy's action probability distributions can be rather extreme. As a note, I have ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Why do I need an initial arbitrary policy to implement value iteration algorithm

I've been recently given an assignment based on Reinforcement Learning and I'm supposed to implement the value iteration algorithm in a grid environment. The assignment: My doubt is why do I even ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

If deep Q learning involves adjusting the value function for a specific policy, then how do I choose the right policy?

I wrote a simple implementation of Flappy Bird in Python, and now I'm trying to train an agent to play it at a reasonable skill level using TFLearn. I feed the network an input vector of size 4: ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Why do I get the best policy before Q values converge using DQN?

I have implemented DQN algorithm and wonder why during testing, the best performance is achieved by a policy from about 300 episode, when mean Q values converge at about 800 episode? Mean Q-values ...
2
votes
1answer
44 views

Is a learned policy, for a deterministic problem, trained in a supervised process, a stochastic policy?

If I trained a neural network with 4 outputs (one for each action: move down, up, left, and right) to move an agent through a grid (deterministic problem). The output of the neural network is a ...
2
votes
3answers
65 views

How to estimate a behavior policy for off-policy learning based on data?

I have a dataset which includes states, actions, and reward. The dataset includes information on the transition, i.e., $p(r,s' \mid s,a)$. Is there a way to estimate a behavior policy from this ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

Possible inconsistency in the Policy Improvement equation

I came across this formula in Sutton And Barto: RL an Intro (2nd Edition) equation number 4.7 (page number 78). If $\pi$ and $\pi'$ are deterministic policies and $q_\pi(s, \pi'(s)) \geq v_\pi(s)$ ...
2
votes
0answers
27 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 \...
2
votes
0answers
34 views

What's an example of a simple policy but a complex value function?

Hado van Hasselt, a researcher at DeepMind, mentioned in one of his videos (from 7:20 to 8:20) on Youtube (about policy gradient methods) that there are cases when the policy is very simple compared ...
2
votes
0answers
26 views

Do we assume the policy to be deterministic when proving the optimality?

In reinforcement learning, when we talk about the principle of optimality, do we assume the policy to be deterministic?
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Is a policy in reinforcement learning analogous to a field such as APF?

If a policy maps states to actions in reinforcement learning, then for a path planning with obstacles, can't we simply use Artificial Potential Field fields for path planning and model policy ...
2
votes
0answers
49 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. ...
2
votes
0answers
79 views

AlphaGo Zero: Does the policy head give a probability for every possible move?

If I understood correctly, the AlphaGo Zero network returns two values: a vector of logit probabilities p and a value v. My question is: in this vector that it is outputted, do we have a probability ...
1
vote
2answers
107 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?
1
vote
2answers
60 views

Why does the policy $\pi$ affect the Q value?

From my understanding, the policy $\pi$ is basically how the agent acts (i.e. the actions it will take in each state). However, I am confused about the Q value and how it is "affected" by a policy. ...
1
vote
1answer
59 views

Why does the value of state change depending on the policy used to get to that state?

From what I understand, the value function estimates how 'good' it is for an agent to be in a state, and a policy is a mapping of actions to state. If I have understood these concepts correctly, why ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Is the policy gradient expression in Fundamentals of Deep Learning wrong?

I don't understand the policy gradient as explained in Chapter-9 (Deep Reinforcement Learning) of the book Fundamentals of deep learning. Here is the whole paragraph: Policy Learning via Policy ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

Do I need to store the policy for RL?

I am creating a zero-sum game with RL and wondered if I need to store the policy, or if there are other RL methods that produce similar results (consistently beating the human player) without the need ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

How to allow RL systems to find better policies after code changes?

Suppose that in version 1 of a reinforcement-learning system an optimal policy $A$ got generated for executing a task. But, in a newer version 2 of that application (with new code changes), there ...
1
vote
0answers
15 views

How to obtain the policy in the form of a finite-state controller from the value function vectors over the belief space of the POMDP?

I was reading this paper by Hansen. It says the following: A correspondence between vectors and one-step policy choices plays an important role in this interpretation of a policy. Each vector in $\...
1
vote
0answers
70 views

What kind of reinforcement learning method does AlphaGo Deepmind use to beat the best human Go player?

In reinforcement learning, there are model-based versus model-free methods. Within model-based ones, there are policy-based and value-based methods. AlphaGo Deepmind RL model has beaten the best Go ...
1
vote
0answers
35 views

Dynamically adapting activation function

I am training a network through reinforcement learning. The policy network learns rotations, but depending on the actual input (state), the output of the network should be restricted to be in certain ...