AISB event Bulletin Item
ICML-07 Tutorial on Bayesian Methods for Reinforcement Learning
ICML-07 Tutorial on Bayesian Methods for Reinforcement Learning http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~ppoupart/ICML-07-tutorial-Bayes-RL.html Corvallis, Oregon, USA 20 June 2007 MOTIVATION Although Bayesian methods for Reinforcement Learning can be traced back to the 1960s (Howard's work in Operations Research), Bayesian methods have only been used sporadically in modern Reinforcement Learning. This is in part because non-Bayesian approaches tend to be much simpler to work with. However, recent advances have shown that Bayesian approaches do not need to be as complex as initially thought and offer several theoretical advantages. For instance, by keeping track of full distributions (instead of point estimates) over the unknowns, Bayesian approaches permit a more comprehensive quantification of the uncertainty regarding the transition probabilities, the rewards, the value function parameters and the policy parameters. Such distributional information can be used to optimize (in a principled way) the classic exploration/exploitation tradeoff, which can speed up the learning process. Similarly, active learning for reinforcement learning can be naturally optimized. The estimation of gradient performance with respect to value function and/or policy parameters can also be done more accurately while using less data. Bayesian approaches also facilitate the encoding of prior knowledge and the explicit formulation of domain assumptions. The primary goal of this tutorial is to raise the awareness of the research community with regard to Bayesian methods, their properties and potential benefits for the advancement of Reinforcement Learning. OUTLINE 1. Introduction to Reinforcement Learning and Bayesian learning 2. History of Bayesian RL 3. Model-based Bayesian RL 3.1 Policy optimization techniques 3.2 Encoding of domain knowledge 3.3 Exploration/exploitation tradeoff and active learning 3.4 Bayesian imitation learning in RL 3.5 Bayesian multi-agent coordination and coalition formation in RL 4. Model-free Bayesian RL 4.1 Gaussian process temporal difference (GPTD) 4.2 Gaussian process SARSA 4.3 Bayesian policy gradient 4.4 Bayesian actor-critic algorithms 5. Demo 5.1 Control of an octopus arm using GPTD PRESENTERS Pascal Poupart, University of Waterloo ppoupart[at]cs[dot]uwaterloo[dot]ca http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~ppoupart Pascal Poupart received a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of Toronto in 2005. Since August 2004, he is an Assistant Professor in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. Poupart's research focuses on the design and analysis of scalable algorithms for sequential decision making under uncertainty (including Bayesian reinforcement learning), with application to assistive technologies in eldercare, spoken dialogue management and information retrieval. He has served on the program committee of several international conferences, including AAMAS (2006, 2007), UAI (2005, 2006, 2007), ICML (2007), AAAI (2005, 2006, 2007), NIPS (2007) and AISTATS (2007). Mohammad Ghavamzadeh, University of Alberta mgh[at]cs[dot]ualberta[dot]ca http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~mgh Mohammad Ghavamzadeh received a Ph.D. degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2005. Since September 2005 he has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta, working with Prof. Richard Sutton. The main objective of his research is to investigate the principles of scalable decision-making grounded by real-world applications. In the last two years, Ghavamzadeh?s research has been mostly focused on using recent advances in statistical machine learning, especially Bayesian reasoning and kernel methods, to develop more scalable reinforcement learning algorithms. Yaakov Engel, University of Alberta yaki[at]cs[dot]ualberta[dot]ca http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~yaki Yaakov Engel received a Ph.D. degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2005. Since April 2005 he has been a postdoctoral fellow with the Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Machine Learning (AICML) at the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta.