Decoupling regularization from the action space

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 16 Mar 2024ICLR 2024 posterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
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Keywords: reinforcement learning, regularized markov decision process, soft actor-critique
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TL;DR: Regularized MDP regularize states with more actions more, we fix this.
Abstract: Regularized reinforcement learning (RL), particularly the entropy-regularized kind, has gained traction in optimal control and inverse RL. While standard unregularized RL methods remain unaffected by changes in the number of actions, we show that it can severely impact their regularized counterparts. This paper demonstrates the importance of decoupling the regularizer from the action space: that is, to maintain a consistent level of regularization regardless of how many actions are involved to avoid over-regularization. Whereas the problem can be avoided by introducing a task-specific temperature parameter, it is often undesirable and cannot solve the problem when action spaces are state-dependent. In the state-dependent action context, different states with varying action spaces are regularized inconsistently. We introduce two solutions: a static temperature selection approach and a dynamic counterpart, universally applicable where this problem arises. Implementing these changes improves performance on the DeepMind control suite in static and dynamic temperature regimes and a biological design task.
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Primary Area: reinforcement learning
Submission Number: 2937