Optimizing for the Future in Non-Stationary MDPs

Jul 12, 2020

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Most reinforcement learning methods are based upon the key assumption that the transition dynamics and reward functions are fixed, that is, the underlying Markov decision process (MDP) is stationary. However, in many practical real-world applications, this assumption is clearly violated. We discuss how current methods can have inherent limitations for non-stationary MDPs, and therefore searching a policy that is good for the future, unknown MDP, requires rethinking the optimization paradigm. To address this problem, we develop a method that builds upon ideas from both counter-factual reasoning and curve-fitting to proactively search for a good future policy, without ever modeling the underlying non-stationarity. The effectiveness of the proposed method is demonstrated on problems motivated by real-world applications.

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About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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