Accidental exploration through value predictors

Tomasz Kisielewski,

Damian Leśniak


Infinite length of trajectories is an almost universal assumption in the theoretical foundations of reinforcement learning. In practice learning occurs on finite trajectories. In this paper we examine a specific result of this disparity, namely a strong bias of the time-bounded Every-visit Monte Carlo value estimator. This manifests as a vastly different learning dynamic for algorithms that use value predictors, including encouraging or discouraging exploration. We investigate these claims theoretically for a one dimensional random walk, and empirically on a number of simple environments. We use GAE as an algorithm involving a value predictor and evolution strategies as a reference point.

Słowa kluczowe: reinforcement learning, value predictors, exploration