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Workshop: Reincarnating Reinforcement Learning

Bayesian regularization of empirical MDPs

Samarth Gupta · Daniel Hill · Lexing Ying · Inderjit Dhillon

Abstract: In most applications of model-based Markov decision processes, the parameters for the unknown underlying model are often estimated from the empirical data. Due to noise, the policy learned from the estimated model is often far from the optimal policy of the underlying model. When applied to the environment of the underlying model, the learned policy results in suboptimal performance, thus calling for solutions with better generalization performance. In this work we take a Bayesian perspective and regularize the objective function of the Markov decision process with prior information in order to obtain more robust policies. Two approaches are proposed, one based on $L^1$ regularization and the other on relative entropic regularization. We evaluate our proposed algorithms on synthetic simulations and on real-world search logs of a large scale online shopping store. Our results demonstrate the robustness of regularized MDP policies against the noise present in the models.

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