# Questions tagged [rewards]

For questions related to the concept of reward, for example, in the context of reinforcement learning and Markov decision processes.

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### What would motivate a machine?

Currently, within the AI development field, the main focus seems to be on pattern recognition and machine learning. Learning is about adjusting internal variables based on a feedback loop. Maslow's ...
3answers
467 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 ...
1answer
3k views

### What is the difference between expected return and value function?

I've seen numerous mathematical explanations of reward, value functions $V(s)$, and return functions. The reward provides an immediate return for being in a specific state. The better the reward, the ...
2answers
9k views

### How do I handle negative rewards in policy gradients with the cross-entropy loss function?

I am using policy gradients in my reinforcement learning algorithm, and occasionally my environment provides a severe penalty (i.e. negative reward) when a wrong move is made. I'm using a neural ...
1answer
3k views

### Suitable reward function for trading buy and sell orders

I am working to build an deep reinforcement learning agent which can place orders (i.e. limit buy and limit sell orders). The actions are ...
1answer
148 views

### Why cannot an AI agent adjust the reward function directly?

In standard Reinforcement Learning the reward function is specified by an AI designer and is external to the AI agent. The agent attempts to find a behaviour that collects higher cumulative discounted ...
1answer
63 views

### Reward interpolation between MDPs. Will an optimal policy on both ends stay optimal inside the interval?

Say I've got two Markov Decision Processes (MDPs): $$\mathcal{M_0} = (\mathcal{S}, \mathcal{A}, P, R_0),\quad\text{and}\quad\mathcal{M}_1 = (\mathcal{S}, \mathcal{A}, P, R_1)$$ Both have the same set ...
1answer
2k views

### Why does the “reward to go” trick in policy gradient methods work?

In the policy gradient method, there's a trick to reduce the variance of policy gradient. We use causality, and remove part of the sum over rewards so that only actions happened after the reward are ...
2answers
1k views

### Reinforcement Learning with long term rewards and fixed states and actions

I have read a lot about RL algorithms, that update the action-value function at each step with the currently gained reward. The requirement here is, that the reward is obtained after each step. I ...
2answers
311 views

### Formula for expected rewards for state–action–next-state triples as a three-argument function

While reading about reinforcement learning, I have come across the following expression for expected rewards in terms of a summation, the denominator of which I am not able to account for. The ...
3answers
469 views

### Upper limit to the maximum cumulative reward in a deep reinforcement learning problem

Is there an upper limit to the maximum cumulative reward in a deep reinforcement learning problem? For example you want to train an DQN agent in an environment and you want to know what is the highest ...
2answers
423 views

### Is there any difference between reward and return in reinforcement learning?

I am reading Sutton and Barto's book on reinforcement learning. I thought that reward and return were the same things. However, in Section 5.6 of the book, 3rd line, first paragraph, it is written: ...
1answer
164 views

### How to evaluate an RL algorithm when used in a game?

I'm planning to create a web-based RL board game, and I wondered how I would evaluate the performance of the RL agent. How would I be able to say, "Version X performed better than version Y, as ...
2answers
124 views

### How can we prevent AGI from doing drugs?

I recently read some introductions to AI alignment, AIXI and decision theory things. As far as I understood, one of the main problems in AI alignment is how to define a utility function well, not ...
1answer
167 views

### How to assign rewards in a non-Markovian environment?

I am quite new to the Reinforcement Learning domain and I am curious about something. It seems to be the case that the majority of current research assumes Markovian environments, that is, future ...
1answer
309 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 ...
1answer
126 views

### What could be the cause of the drop in the reward in A3C?

The mean episodic reward is generally increasing, but it has spontaneous drops, and I'm not sure of their cause. The problem has a sparse reward, batch size=2000, <...
0answers
54 views

### How define a reward function for a humanoid agent whose goal is to stand up from the ground?

I'm trying to teach a humanoid agent how to stand up after falling. The episode starts with the agent lying on the floor with its back touching the ground, and its goal is to stand up in the shortest ...
0answers
42 views

### What research has been done on learning non-Markovian reward functions?

Recently, some work has been done planning and learning in Non-Markovian Decision Processes, that is, decision-making with temporally extended rewards. In these settings, a particular reward is ...
2answers
136 views

### Why is regret so defined in MABs?

Consider a multi-armed bandit(MAB). There are $k$ arms, with reward distributions $R_i$ where $1 \leq i \leq k$. Let $\mu_i$ denote the mean of the $i^{th}$ distribution. If we run the multi-armed ...
1answer
178 views

### How is the reward in reinforcement learning different from the label in supervised learning problems?

How is the notion of immediate reward used in the reinforcement learning different from the notion of a label we find in the supervised learning problems?
1answer
112 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 ...
1answer
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1answer
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### Is there multi-agent reinforcement learning model in which (some of the) reward is given by other agent and not by the external environment?

The traditional setting of multiagent reinforcement learning (MARL) is the mode in which there is set of agents and external environment. And the reward is given to each agent - individually or ...