5

If your algorithm is executed multiple (or enough) times using an outer loop, it would converge to similar results as Q-learning would with $\gamma = 0$ (as you don't look what is the expected future reward). In this case, the difference is that you would pass as much time to explore each possible couple of (state, action) while Q-learning would pass more ...


5

In reinforcement learning, exploration has a specific meaning, which is in contrast with the meaning of exploitation, hence the so-called exploration-exploitation dilemma (or trade-off). You explore when you decide to visit states that you have not yet visited or to take actions you have not yet taken. On the other hand, you exploit when you decide to take ...


4

For discrete action spaces, what is the purpose of the actor in Actor-Critic algorithms? In brief, it is the policy function $\pi(a|s)$. The critic (a state action function $v_{\pi}(s)$) is not used to derive a policy, and in "vanilla" Actor-Critic cannot be used in this way at all unless you have the full distribution model of the MDP. It just seems to ...


3

Epsilon-greedy is one method of making an agent explore the state space to ensure that the agent doesn't settle on a sub-optimal policy. By taking random actions, even with a small probability, the agent can get to places in the state space it normally wouldn't see and on the chance that the outcome is better than what it normally would have seen, it can ...


3

I'll assume Q-player is being trained with Q learning (note, Q tables can be useful in other algorithms too, like SARSA). Q learning is an off policy algorithm, meaning that the Q values can be learned regardless of the policy used to collect data. So the Q player can be following a random policy, or even a fixed pre defined policy if you want. Usually, ...


3

Why can’t we during the first 1000 episodes allow our agent perform only exploration You can do this. It is fine to do so either to learn the value function of a simple random policy, or when performing off-policy updates. It is quite normal when learning an environment from scratch in a safe way - e.g. in simulation - to collect an initial set of data from ...


2

No - imagine if you were playing an Atari game and took completely random actions. Your games would not last very long and you would never get to experience all of the state space because the game would end too soon. This is why you need to combine exploration and exploitation to fully explore the state space.


2

BlueTurtle's answer is good, but I'd like to add something. Your question realistically has nothing to do with Q Learning, in fact, you can ask the same thing about just about any RL algorithm. In fact, even in multi-armed bandits, you can easily see why your proposed method is suboptimal (please don't interpret this as a criticism, because I think your ...


2

In short, yes, provided that you have a small number of states. In pretty much any real system, the number of states is much higher than you could ever hope to explore exhaustively in any reasonable time. This is why you need to set some sort of exploration/exploitation policy to make sure that you mostly visit promising states while also checking states ...


2

How much the $Q$-values change does not depend on the value of $\epsilon$, rather the value of $\epsilon$ dictates how likely you are to take a random action and thus take an action that could give rise to a large TD error -- that is a large difference between the returns you expected from taking this action as to what you actually observed. How much the $Q$-...


1

I think there is an implicit notion of it in dynamic programming; say, if you have to make some sort of search over a subset of a state space and you are deciding whether to use BFS, breath first search, or DFS, depth first search, you are at least implicitly thinking on the best way to explore/exploit the state space. As for model based RL, yes. There is ...


1

I can spot three, maybe four, things in your implementation that could be contributing to incomplete learning that you are observing. More exploration in long term I think you have correctly identified that exploration could be an issue. In off-policy learning (which Q-learning is an instance of), it is usual to set a minimum exploration rate. It is a ...


1

The example that you linked is using a model (emulation) in order to look ahead at all possible actions from any state. It essentially explores off-policy and offline using that model. This is not an option that is available in all environments, but if possible it resolves the exploration/eploitation dilemma for a single time step nicely by investigating all ...


1

You can't guarantee that you have taken every action from every state, even with 1000 time steps. There would be multiple outcomes: The episode terminates, either by success or failure before the 1000 time steps. The agent is trying to maximise reward, if this is achieved by taking less than 1000 steps then it will do. It won't just walk around until it ...


1

Neil Slater's answer is very nice, but I have a couple more suggestions: You can use entropy regularization. Basically, you modify your loss function to penalize low policy entropy (so less loss for more entropy) which should prevent your policy from becoming "too deterministic" too early. You can also try maximum-entropy methods, like SAC, which employ a ...


1

I believe that if I follow the policy (sample an action from the policy) I make use of exploration because each action has a certain probability so I will explore all actions for a given state. Yes, having a stochastic policy function is the main way that a lot of policy gradient methods achieve exploration, including REINFORCE, A2C, A3C. Is it ...


1

In the tabular case, then the Q table will only converge if you have walked around the whole of the table. Note that to guarantee convergence we need $\sum\limits_{n=1}^{\infty}\alpha_n(a) = \infty$ and $\sum\limits_{n=1}^\infty \alpha_n^2(a) < \infty$. These conditions imply that in the limit each state-action pair will have been visited an infinite ...


1

Once you have estimated the $Q$ function, you can derive the policy from it in different ways. For example, you can act greedily with respect to it (see this answer), which can be formally denoted as $$ \pi(s) = \operatorname{argmax}_{a^*}Q(s, a), \; \forall s \in \mathcal{S} $$ where $Q(s, a)$ is your estimated value function and $\pi$ the policy greedily ...


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