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- Keywords: Reinforcement Learning, Generalization, Information Theory, Rate-Distortion Theory
- TL;DR: Applying a limit to the amount of information used to represent policies affords some improvements in generalization in Reinforcement Learning
- Abstract: Biological and artificial agents must learn to act optimally in spite of a limited capacity for processing, storing, and attending to information. We formalize this type of bounded rationality in terms of an information-theoretic constraint on the complexity of policies that agents seek to learn. We present the Capacity-Limited Reinforcement Learning (CLRL) objective which defines an optimal policy subject to an information capacity constraint. This objective is optimized by drawing from methods used in rate distortion theory and information theory, and applied to the reinforcement learning setting. Using this objective we implement a novel Capacity-Limited Actor-Critic (CLAC) algorithm and situate it within a broader family of RL algorithms such as the Soft Actor Critic (SAC) and discuss their similarities and differences. Our experiments show that compared to alternative approaches, CLAC offers improvements in generalization between training and modified test environments. This is achieved in the CLAC model while displaying high sample efficiency and minimal requirements for hyper-parameter tuning.