One-Step Distributional Reinforcement Learning

Published: 22 Aug 2023, Last Modified: 22 Aug 2023Accepted by TMLREveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Abstract: Reinforcement learning (RL) allows an agent interacting sequentially with an environment to maximize its long-term expected return. In the distributional RL (DistrRL) paradigm, the agent goes beyond the limit of the expected value, to capture the underlying probability distribution of the return across all time steps. The set of DistrRL algorithms has led to improved empirical performance. Nevertheless, the theory of DistrRL is still not fully understood, especially in the control case. In this paper, we present the simpler one-step distributional reinforcement learning (OS-DistrRL) framework encompassing only the randomness induced by the one-step dynamics of the environment. Contrary to DistrRL, we show that our approach comes with a unified theory for both policy evaluation and control. Indeed, we propose two OS-DistrRL algorithms for which we provide an almost sure convergence analysis. The proposed approach compares favorably with categorical DistrRL on various environments.
Submission Length: Regular submission (no more than 12 pages of main content)
Assigned Action Editor: ~Marc_Lanctot1
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Submission Number: 1095