Ensuring Monotonic Policy Improvement in Entropy-regularized Value-based Reinforcement Learning

25 Aug 2020  ·  Lingwei Zhu, Takamitsu Matsubara ·

This paper aims to establish an entropy-regularized value-based reinforcement learning method that can ensure the monotonic improvement of policies at each policy update. Unlike previously proposed lower-bounds on policy improvement in general infinite-horizon MDPs, we derive an entropy-regularization aware lower bound. Since our bound only requires the expected policy advantage function to be estimated, it is scalable to large-scale (continuous) state-space problems. We propose a novel reinforcement learning algorithm that exploits this lower-bound as a criterion for adjusting the degree of a policy update for alleviating policy oscillation. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach in both discrete-state maze and continuous-state inverted pendulum tasks using a linear function approximator for value estimation.

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