A short variational proof of equivalence between policy gradients and soft Q learning

22 Dec 2017  ·  Pierre H. Richemond, Brendan Maginnis ·

Two main families of reinforcement learning algorithms, Q-learning and policy gradients, have recently been proven to be equivalent when using a softmax relaxation on one part, and an entropic regularization on the other. We relate this result to the well-known convex duality of Shannon entropy and the softmax function... Such a result is also known as the Donsker-Varadhan formula. This provides a short proof of the equivalence. We then interpret this duality further, and use ideas of convex analysis to prove a new policy inequality relative to soft Q-learning. read more

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