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# Dueling RL: Reinforcement Learning with Trajectory Preferences

*Proceedings of The 26th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics*, PMLR 206:6263-6289, 2023.

#### Abstract

We consider the problem of preference-based reinforcement learning (PbRL), where, unlike traditional reinforcement learning (RL), an agent receives feedback only in terms of 1 bit (0/1) preferences over a trajectory pair instead of absolute rewards for it. The success of the traditional reward-based RL framework crucially depends on how accurately a system designer can express an appropriate reward function, which is often a non-trivial task. The main novelty of the our framework is the ability to learn from preference-based trajectory feedback that eliminates the need to hand-craft numeric reward models. This paper sets up a formal framework for the PbRL problem with non-markovian rewards, where the trajectory preferences are encoded by a generalized linear model of dimension $d$. Assuming the transition model is known, we propose an algorithm with a regret guarantee of $\tilde {\mathcal{O}}\left( SH d \log (T / \delta) \sqrt{T} \right)$. We further extend the above algorithm to the case of unknown transition dynamics and provide an algorithm with regret $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}((\sqrt{d} + H^2 + |\mathcal{S}|)\sqrt{dT} +\sqrt{|\mathcal{S}||\mathcal{A}|TH} )$. To the best of our knowledge, our work is one of the first to give tight regret guarantees for preference-based RL problem with trajectory preferences.