Actor-Critic Reinforcement Learning with Energy-Based Policies


Nicolas Heess, David Silver, Yee Whye Teh ;
Proceedings of the Tenth European Workshop on Reinforcement Learning, PMLR 24:45-58, 2013.


We consider reinforcement learning in Markov decision processes with high dimensional state and action spaces. We parametrize policies using energy-based models (particularly restricted Boltzmann machines), and train them using policy gradient learning. Our approach builds upon Sallans and Hinton (2004), who parameterized value functions using energy-based models, trained using a non-linear variant of temporal-difference (TD) learning. Unfortunately, non-linear TD is known to diverge in theory and practice. We introduce the first sound and efficient algorithm for training energy-based policies, based on an actor-critic architecture. Our algorithm is computationally efficient, converges close to a local optimum, and outperforms Sallans and Hinton (2004) in several high dimensional domains.

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