2022 Developer Survey is open! Take survey.

Questions tagged [reward-functions]

For questions about rewards functions (e.g. in the context of reinforcement learning, which may be denoted as $R(s, a)$).

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1 vote
0 answers
20 views

If we have a working reward function, would adding another action have a significant effect on the agent performance if task remains the same?

If we have a working reward function, providing the desired behavior and optimal policy in a continuous action/state-space problem, would adding another action significantly affect the possible ...
user avatar
  • 11
2 votes
1 answer
67 views

How to construct a reward function for a "wait and see" problem

I'm working on a problem that I think could probably be represented as a reinforcement learning task, but I'm uncertain about how to design the reward function. The core task is essentially a ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
52 views

How should I write the reward function to teach the agent the rules of this card game?

I'm quite new to reinforcement learning. I've been training the model for the following problem but the mean reward is stuck. In a 5 by 5 board, each position can contain a card with a color (0-4) ...
user avatar
  • 111
1 vote
0 answers
41 views

What is commonly done for standardization/normalization of the targets in Deep Q-Learning?

I have been searching a lot about standardization/normalization of rewards and targets for the DQN algorithm. For the rewards, I now use the gym wrapper, which only scales but not shifts the rewards ...
user avatar
  • 23
0 votes
1 answer
31 views

Does $R_{s}=E[R_{t}|S_{t}=s]$ indicate the reward we might expect on getting on average moving from any other state to $s$?

I'm trying to understand correctly what each "variable" in RL is and I'm not sure about $R_{s}$ the reward function. I used to think that it's the reward we may expect on average after ...
user avatar
  • 489
1 vote
0 answers
29 views

Normalisation of reward function

Problem Currently, I have some problems defining a reward function for my RL project and mainly with how to normalise the score such that the highest possible score for all instances of the ...
user avatar
  • 21
1 vote
0 answers
38 views

How to teach Machine Learning Agent to destroy replicating objects in a puzzle game?

I have an unusual but very interesting problem. I have a game that is very similar to Toon Blast (a puzzle mobile game). It's based on a Match-2 mechanic in which you can destroy 2 or more connected ...
user avatar
  • 153
2 votes
1 answer
51 views

Is there a mathematical formalism to deal with a missing reward signal?

Typically, a Reinforcement Learning learning problem is formalized as finding an optimal policy for a Markov Decision Process (MDP). In many real-life situations, however, an agent can only get ...
user avatar
  • 163
-1 votes
1 answer
106 views

Is it a bad practice to use cumulative rewards in reinforcement learning

I am using a DDPG agent for doing prediction on the position on an asset in a stock trading-like environment. I am using the cumulative reward as the reward for each timestep. Since it is trained over ...
user avatar
  • 49
1 vote
1 answer
240 views

How should I define the reward function for a stock trading-like game?

Problem setting Consider a game like trading a stock At each step, the agent can buy / sell a stock. Trade is a pair of ...
user avatar
  • 19
2 votes
1 answer
127 views

How to encourage the reinforcement-learning agent to reach the goal as quickly as possible, and what's the effect of discount factor?

I am trying to use reinforcement learning to solve a task and compare its performance to humans. The task is to find a single target in a fixed number of locations. At each step, the agent will pick ...
user avatar
  • 173
1 vote
1 answer
75 views

How do I compute the value function when the reward is only at the end in the context of actor-critic algorithms?

Consider the actor-critic reinforcement learning setting (actor and critic parameterized by a neural network). The reward is given only at the end of the episode (or when there is a timeout there is ...
user avatar
  • 121
1 vote
0 answers
42 views

Are there any deep RL algorithms that work well on finite MDPs and non-trivial terminal rewards?

I notice that most Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) works focus on Markov Decision Process (MDP) with an infinite time horizon. Are there any algorithms that work well on finite MDP and non-trivial ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
91 views

How are rewards calculated for episodic tasks like playing chess or tic-tac-toe?

I am new to Reinforcement Learning and trying to understand the concept of reaping rewards during episodic tasks. I think in games like tic-tac-toe, rewards will be in terms of a win or lose. But does ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
69 views

How are these two versions of the Bellman optimality equation related?

I saw two versions of the optimality equation for $V_{*}(s)$ and $Q_{*}(s,a)$. The first one is: $$ V_{*}(s)=\max _{a} \sum_{s^{\prime}} P_{s s^{\prime}}^{a}\left(r(s, a)+\gamma V_{*}\left(s^{\prime}\...
user avatar
  • 49
1 vote
1 answer
70 views

In addition to the reward function, which other functions do I need to implement Q-learning?

In general, $Q$ function is defined as $$Q : S \times A \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$$ $$Q(s_t,a_t) = Q(s_t,a_t) + \alpha[r_{t+1} + \gamma \max\limits_{a} Q(s_{t+1},a) - Q(s_t,a_t)] $$ $\alpha$ and $\gamma$...
user avatar
  • 187
0 votes
1 answer
52 views

How would you shape a reward function if there was four quantities to optimize?

I found this article quite useful on how to shape a reward function in RL. However, the example they gave is quite simple, where the goal is to minimize only two quantities (velocity and distance). ...
user avatar
  • 36
0 votes
1 answer
101 views

How do we get the value of this state of an MDP, at time-step $h-2$, using dynamic programming?

I am trying to understand the problem below, represented as an MDP with four states (PU, PF, RU, and RF) and two actions (AS). Let's consider V(RF), the value of the state RF. At time-step $h$, V(RF) ...
user avatar
  • 61
1 vote
1 answer
110 views

What happens with policy gradient methods if rewards are differentiable?

I would like some help with understanding why there is no explicit flow of information from the reward gradient to the parameters of the policy in policy gradient methods. What I mean is the following,...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
149 views

How to scale all positive continuous reward?

My RL project has all positive continuous rewards for every step and the goal is to have the maximum cumulative reward (episodic reward). The problem is that the rewards are too close and all between ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
137 views

Intuition behind $1-\gamma$ and $\frac{1}{1-\gamma}$ for calculating discounted future state distribution and discounted reward

In the appendix of the Constrained Policy Optimization (CPO) paper (Arxiv), the authors denote the discounted future state distribution $d^\pi$ as: $$d^\pi(s) = (1-\gamma) \sum_{t=0}^\infty{\gamma^t P(...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
227 views

How to improve the reward signal when the rewards are sparse?

In cases where the reward is delayed, this can negatively impact a models ability to do proper credit assignment. In the case of a sparse reward, are there ways in which this can be negated? In a ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
72 views

Can the rewards be matrices when using DQN?

I have a basic question. I'm working towards developing a reward function for my DQN. I'd like to train an RL agent to edit pixels on an image. I understand that convolutions are ideal for working ...
user avatar
  • 323
2 votes
1 answer
88 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 ...
user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
37 views

Is better to reward short- or long-term progress in Q-learning?

I have been training some kind of agent to reach a target using a Q-learning based approach, and I have tried two different types of rewards: Long-term reward: $\mathrm{reward} = - \mathrm{distance}(\...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
99 views

Is my reward function non-Markovian?

I am working on an RL problem where the time when the agent obtains the reward for taking action $a$ in time step $t$ is stochastic. In fact, there is no immediate reward for taking action $a$ in time ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
60 views

If the reward function of an environment depends on some initial conditions, should I create a separate environment for each condition?

I would like some guidance on how to design an Environment for a Reinforcement Learning agent where the stopping conditions and rewards for the environment change based on an initial set of input ...
user avatar
  • 15
0 votes
0 answers
42 views

Thompson sampling with Bernoulli prior and non-binary reward update

I am solving a problem for which I have to select the best possible servers (level 1) to hit for a given data. These servers (level 1) in turn hit some other servers (level 2) to complete the request. ...
user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
26 views

How can I discourage the RL agent from drawing in a zero-sum game?

My agent receives $1, 0, -1$ rewards for winning, drawing, and losing the game, respectively. What would be the consequences of setting reward to $-1$ for draws? Would that encourage the agent to win ...
user avatar
  • 663
6 votes
1 answer
501 views

Why does a negative reward for every step really encourage the agent to reach the goal as quickly as possible?

If we shift the rewards by any constant (which is a type of reward shaping), the optimal state-action value function (and so optimal policy) does not change. The proof of this fact can be found here. ...
user avatar
  • 33.1k
2 votes
2 answers
275 views

How should I define the reward function to solve the Wumpus game with deep Q-learning?

I'm writing a DQN agent for the Wumpus game. Is the reward function to train the Q-networks (target network and policy) the same as the score of the game, i.e. +1000 for picking up gold, -1000 for ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
199 views

What are proxy reward functions?

The understanding I have is that they somehow adjust the objective to make it easier to meet, without changing the reward function. ... the observed proxy reward function is the approximate solution ...
user avatar
  • 517
3 votes
2 answers
312 views

How to apply Q-learning when rewards is only available at the last state?

I have a scheduling problem in which there are $n$ slots and $m$ clients. I am trying to solve the problem using Q-learning so I have made the following state-action model. A state $s_t$ is given by ...
user avatar
  • 247
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

What are the pros and cons of sparse and dense rewards in reinforcement learning?

From what I understand, if the rewards are sparse the agent will have to explore more to get rewards and learn the optimal policy, whereas if the rewards are dense in time, the agent is quickly guided ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
86 views

Given the daily stock prices of the last 3 years, how should I sample the training data for episodic RL?

I am playing around with a stock trading agent trained via (deep) reinforcement learning, including memory replay. The agent is trained for 1000 episodes, where each episode consists of 180 timesteps (...
user avatar
  • 111
2 votes
0 answers
52 views

How to combine two differently equally important signals into the reward function, that have different scales?

I have two signals that I want to use to model my reward. The first one is the CPU TIME: running mean from this diagram: The second one is the MAX RESIDUAL from this diagram: Since they are both ...
user avatar
  • 352
12 votes
3 answers
815 views

Why is the reward in reinforcement learning always a scalar?

I'm reading Reinforcement Learning by Sutton & Barto, and in section 3.2 they state that the reward in a Markov decision process is always a scalar real number. At the same time, I've heard about ...
user avatar
  • 223
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

What are some best practices when trying to design a reward function?

Generally speaking, is there a best-practice procedure to follow when trying to define a reward function for a reinforcement-learning agent? What common pitfalls are there when defining the reward ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
735 views

Is a reward given at every step or only given when the RL agent fails or succeeds?

In reinforcement learning, an agent can receive a positive reward for correct actions and a negative reward for wrong actions, but does the agent also receive rewards for every other step/action?
user avatar
  • 1,153
3 votes
2 answers
96 views

Can rewards be decomposed into components?

I'm training a robot to walk to a specific $(x, y)$ point using TD3, and, for simplicity, I have something like ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
596 views

Why does shifting all the rewards have a different impact on the performance of the agent?

I am new to reinforcement learning. For my application, I have found out that if my reward function contains some negative and positive values, my model does not give the optimal solution, but the ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
517 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 ...
user avatar
  • 436
5 votes
1 answer
262 views

How should I handle invalid actions in a grid world?

I'm building a really simple experiment, where I let an agent move from the bottom-left corner to the upper-right corner of a $3 \times 3$ grid world. I plan to use DQN to do this. I'm having trouble ...
user avatar
  • 187
3 votes
1 answer
221 views

Why is the reward function $\text{reward} = 1/{(\text{cost}+1)^2}$ better than $\text{reward} =1/(\text{cost}+1)$?

I have implemented a simple Q-learning algorithm to minimize a cost function by setting the reward to the inverse of the cost of the action taken by the agent. The algorithm converges nicely, but ...
user avatar
  • 77
1 vote
1 answer
115 views

Which reward function works for recommendation systems using knowledge graphs?

I've been reading this paper on recommendation systems using reinforcement learning (RL) and knowledge graphs (KGs). To give some background, the graph has several (finitely many) entities, of which ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
484 views

Why does the definition of the reward function $r(s, a, s')$ involve the term $p(s' \mid s, a)$?

Sutton and Barto define the state–action–next-state reward function, $r(s, a, s')$, as follows (equation 3.6, p. 49) $$ r(s, a, s^{\prime}) \doteq \mathbb{E}\left[R_{t} \mid S_{t-1}=s, A_{t-1}=a, S_{t}...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
315 views

What is the relationship between the reward function and the value function?

To clarify it in my head, the value function calculates how 'good' it is to be in a certain state by summing all future (discounted) rewards, while the reward function is what the value function uses ...
user avatar
  • 573
2 votes
1 answer
146 views

How can I implement the reward function for an 8-DOF robot arm with TRPO?

I need to get an 8-DOF (degrees of freedom) robot arm to move a specified point. I need to implement the TRPO RL code using OpenAI gym. I already have the gazebo environment. But I am unsure of how to ...
user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
428 views

Is the policy really invariant under affine transformations of the reward function?

In the context of a Markov decision process, this paper says it is well-known that the optimal policy is invariant to positive affine transformation of the reward function On the other hand, ...
user avatar
  • 171
12 votes
4 answers
1k views

Counterexamples to the reward hypothesis

On Sutton and Barto's RL book, the reward hypothesis is stated as that all of what we mean by goals and purposes can be well thought of as the maximization of the expected value of the cumulative ...
user avatar
  • 221