Keywords: Reinforcement Learning, Value Mapping, Reward Decomposition
Abstract: We present a general convergent class of reinforcement learning algorithms that is founded on two distinct principles: (1) mapping value estimates to a different space using arbitrary functions from a broad class, and (2) linearly decomposing the reward signal into multiple channels. The first principle enables incorporating specific properties into the value estimator that can enhance learning. The second principle, on the other hand, allows for the value function to be represented as a composition of multiple utility functions. This can be leveraged for various purposes, e.g. dealing with highly varying reward scales, incorporating a priori knowledge about the sources of reward, and ensemble learning. Combining the two principles yields a general blueprint for instantiating convergent algorithms by orchestrating diverse mapping functions over multiple reward channels. This blueprint generalizes and subsumes algorithms such as Q-Learning, Log Q-Learning, and Q-Decomposition. In addition, our convergence proof for this general class relaxes certain required assumptions in some of these algorithms. Based on our theory, we discuss several interesting configurations as special cases. Finally, to illustrate the potential of the design space that our theory opens up, we instantiate a particular algorithm and evaluate its performance on the Atari suite.
One-sentence Summary: We present a general convergent class of RL algorithms based on combining arbitrary value mappings and reward decomposition.