Neural Combinatorial Optimization with Reinforcement Learning

Irwan Bello*, Hieu Pham*, Quoc V. Le, Mohammad Norouzi, Samy Bengio

Nov 04, 2016 (modified: Jan 25, 2017) ICLR 2017 conference submission readers: everyone
  • Abstract: This paper presents a framework to tackle combinatorial optimization problems using neural networks and reinforcement learning. We focus on the traveling salesman problem (TSP) and train a recurrent neural network that, given a set of city coordinates, predicts a distribution over different city permutations. Using negative tour length as the reward signal, we optimize the parameters of the recurrent neural network using a policy gradient method. We compare learning the network parameters on a set of training graphs against learning them on individual test graphs. Without much engineering and heuristic designing, Neural Combinatorial Optimization achieves close to optimal results on 2D Euclidean graphs with up to 100 nodes. Applied to the KnapSack, another NP-hard problem, the same method obtains optimal solutions for instances with up to 200 items. These results, albeit still far from state-of-the-art, give insights into how neural networks can be used as a general tool for tackling combinatorial optimization problems.
  • TL;DR: This paper presents a framework to tackle combinatorial optimization problems using neural networks and reinforcement learning.
  • Conflicts: google.com
  • Keywords: Reinforcement Learning, Deep learning

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