An Outsider's Tour of Reinforcement Learning

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Catching Signals That Sound in the Dark

The essence of reinforcement learning is using past data to enhance the future manipulation of a system that dynamically evolves over time. The most common practice of reinforcement learning follows the episodic model, where a... Continue

The Best Things in Life Are Model Free

This is the tenth part of “An Outsider’s Tour of Reinforcement Learning.” Part 11 is here. Part 9 is here. Part 1 is here. Though I’ve spent the last few posts casting shade at model-free... Continue

The Ethics of Reward Shaping

I read three great articles over the weekend by Renee DiResta, Chris Wiggins, and Janelle Shane that touched on a topic that’s been troubling me: In machine learning, we take our cost functions for granted,... Continue

Benchmarking Machine Learning with Performance Profiles

A common sticking point in contemporary reinforcement learning is how to evaluate performance on benchmarks. For a general purpose method, we’d like to demonstrate aptitude on a wide selection of test problems with minimal special... Continue

Clues for Which I Search and Choose

This is the ninth part of “An Outsider’s Tour of Reinforcement Learning.” Part 10 is here. Part 8 is here. Part 1 is here. Before we leave these model-free chronicles behind, let me turn to... Continue

Updates on Policy Gradients

This is the eighth part of “An Outsider’s Tour of Reinforcement Learning.” Part 9 is here. Part 7 is here. Part 1 is here. I’ve been swamped with a bit of a travel binge and... Continue

A Model, You Know What I Mean?

This is the seventh part of “An Outsider’s Tour of Reinforcement Learning.” Part 8 is here. Part 6 is here. Part 1 is here. The role of models in reinforcement learning remains hotly debated. Model-free... Continue

The Policy of Truth

This is the sixth part of “An Outsider’s Tour of Reinforcement Learning.” Part 7 is here. Part 5 is here. Part 1 is here. Our first generic candidate for solving reinforcement learning is Policy Gradient.... Continue

A Game of Chance to You to Him Is One of Real Skill

This is the fifth part of “An Outsider’s Tour of Reinforcement Learning.” Part 6 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 1 is here. The first two parts of this series highlighted two parallel aspirations... Continue