This manuscript surveys reinforcement learning from the perspective of optimization and control with a focus on continuous control applications. It surveys the general formulation, terminology, and typical experimental implementations of reinforcement learning and reviews competing solution paradigms. In order to compare the relative merits of various techniques, this survey presents a case study of the Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) with unknown dynamics, perhaps the simplest and best studied problem in optimal control. The manuscript describes how merging techniques from learning theory and control can provide non-asymptotic characterizations of LQR performance and shows that these characterizations tend to match experimental behavior. In turn, when revisiting more complex applications, many of the observed phenomena in LQR persist. In particular, theory and experiment demonstrate the role and importance of models and the cost of generality in reinforcement learning algorithms. This survey concludes with a discussion of some of the challenges in designing learning systems that safely and reliably interact with complex and uncertain environments and how tools from reinforcement learning and controls might be combined to approach these challenges.

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Since deep neural networks were developed, they have made huge contributions to everyday lives. Machine learning provides more rational advice than humans are capable of in almost every aspect of daily life. However, despite this achievement, the design and training of neural networks are still challenging and unpredictable procedures. To lower the technical thresholds for common users, automated hyper-parameter optimization (HPO) has become a popular topic in both academic and industrial areas. This paper provides a review of the most essential topics on HPO. The first section introduces the key hyper-parameters related to model training and structure, and discusses their importance and methods to define the value range. Then, the research focuses on major optimization algorithms and their applicability, covering their efficiency and accuracy especially for deep learning networks. This study next reviews major services and toolkits for HPO, comparing their support for state-of-the-art searching algorithms, feasibility with major deep learning frameworks, and extensibility for new modules designed by users. The paper concludes with problems that exist when HPO is applied to deep learning, a comparison between optimization algorithms, and prominent approaches for model evaluation with limited computational resources.

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Reinforcement learning (RL) is a popular paradigm for addressing sequential decision tasks in which the agent has only limited environmental feedback. Despite many advances over the past three decades, learning in many domains still requires a large amount of interaction with the environment, which can be prohibitively expensive in realistic scenarios. To address this problem, transfer learning has been applied to reinforcement learning such that experience gained in one task can be leveraged when starting to learn the next, harder task. More recently, several lines of research have explored how tasks, or data samples themselves, can be sequenced into a curriculum for the purpose of learning a problem that may otherwise be too difficult to learn from scratch. In this article, we present a framework for curriculum learning (CL) in reinforcement learning, and use it to survey and classify existing CL methods in terms of their assumptions, capabilities, and goals. Finally, we use our framework to find open problems and suggest directions for future RL curriculum learning research.

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Solving complex, temporally-extended tasks is a long-standing problem in reinforcement learning (RL). We hypothesize that one critical element of solving such problems is the notion of compositionality. With the ability to learn concepts and sub-skills that can be composed to solve longer tasks, i.e. hierarchical RL, we can acquire temporally-extended behaviors. However, acquiring effective yet general abstractions for hierarchical RL is remarkably challenging. In this paper, we propose to use language as the abstraction, as it provides unique compositional structure, enabling fast learning and combinatorial generalization, while retaining tremendous flexibility, making it suitable for a variety of problems. Our approach learns an instruction-following low-level policy and a high-level policy that can reuse abstractions across tasks, in essence, permitting agents to reason using structured language. To study compositional task learning, we introduce an open-source object interaction environment built using the MuJoCo physics engine and the CLEVR engine. We find that, using our approach, agents can learn to solve to diverse, temporally-extended tasks such as object sorting and multi-object rearrangement, including from raw pixel observations. Our analysis find that the compositional nature of language is critical for learning diverse sub-skills and systematically generalizing to new sub-skills in comparison to non-compositional abstractions that use the same supervision.

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In this paper, we propose a deep reinforcement learning framework called GCOMB to learn algorithms that can solve combinatorial problems over large graphs. GCOMB mimics the greedy algorithm in the original problem and incrementally constructs a solution. The proposed framework utilizes Graph Convolutional Network (GCN) to generate node embeddings that predicts the potential nodes in the solution set from the entire node set. These embeddings enable an efficient training process to learn the greedy policy via Q-learning. Through extensive evaluation on several real and synthetic datasets containing up to a million nodes, we establish that GCOMB is up to 41% better than the state of the art, up to seven times faster than the greedy algorithm, robust and scalable to large dynamic networks.

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Deep reinforcement learning suggests the promise of fully automated learning of robotic control policies that directly map sensory inputs to low-level actions. However, applying deep reinforcement learning methods on real-world robots is exceptionally difficult, due both to the sample complexity and, just as importantly, the sensitivity of such methods to hyperparameters. While hyperparameter tuning can be performed in parallel in simulated domains, it is usually impractical to tune hyperparameters directly on real-world robotic platforms, especially legged platforms like quadrupedal robots that can be damaged through extensive trial-and-error learning. In this paper, we develop a stable variant of the soft actor-critic deep reinforcement learning algorithm that requires minimal hyperparameter tuning, while also requiring only a modest number of trials to learn multilayer neural network policies. This algorithm is based on the framework of maximum entropy reinforcement learning, and automatically trades off exploration against exploitation by dynamically and automatically tuning a temperature parameter that determines the stochasticity of the policy. We show that this method achieves state-of-the-art performance on four standard benchmark environments. We then demonstrate that it can be used to learn quadrupedal locomotion gaits on a real-world Minitaur robot, learning to walk from scratch directly in the real world in two hours of training.

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Despite deep reinforcement learning has recently achieved great successes, however in multiagent environments, a number of challenges still remain. Multiagent reinforcement learning (MARL) is commonly considered to suffer from the problem of non-stationary environments and exponentially increasing policy space. It would be even more challenging to learn effective policies in circumstances where the rewards are sparse and delayed over long trajectories. In this paper, we study Hierarchical Deep Multiagent Reinforcement Learning (hierarchical deep MARL) in cooperative multiagent problems with sparse and delayed rewards, where efficient multiagent learning methods are desperately needed. We decompose the original MARL problem into hierarchies and investigate how effective policies can be learned hierarchically in synchronous/asynchronous hierarchical MARL frameworks. Several hierarchical deep MARL architectures, i.e., Ind-hDQN, hCom and hQmix, are introduced for different learning paradigms. Moreover, to alleviate the issues of sparse experiences in high-level learning and non-stationarity in multiagent settings, we propose a new experience replay mechanism, named as Augmented Concurrent Experience Replay (ACER). We empirically demonstrate the effects and efficiency of our approaches in several classic Multiagent Trash Collection tasks, as well as in an extremely challenging team sports game, i.e., Fever Basketball Defense.

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Most policy search algorithms require thousands of training episodes to find an effective policy, which is often infeasible with a physical robot. This survey article focuses on the extreme other end of the spectrum: how can a robot adapt with only a handful of trials (a dozen) and a few minutes? By analogy with the word "big-data", we refer to this challenge as "micro-data reinforcement learning". We show that a first strategy is to leverage prior knowledge on the policy structure (e.g., dynamic movement primitives), on the policy parameters (e.g., demonstrations), or on the dynamics (e.g., simulators). A second strategy is to create data-driven surrogate models of the expected reward (e.g., Bayesian optimization) or the dynamical model (e.g., model-based policy search), so that the policy optimizer queries the model instead of the real system. Overall, all successful micro-data algorithms combine these two strategies by varying the kind of model and prior knowledge. The current scientific challenges essentially revolve around scaling up to complex robots (e.g., humanoids), designing generic priors, and optimizing the computing time.

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This paper presents a new multi-objective deep reinforcement learning (MODRL) framework based on deep Q-networks. We propose the use of linear and non-linear methods to develop the MODRL framework that includes both single-policy and multi-policy strategies. The experimental results on two benchmark problems including the two-objective deep sea treasure environment and the three-objective mountain car problem indicate that the proposed framework is able to converge to the optimal Pareto solutions effectively. The proposed framework is generic, which allows implementation of different deep reinforcement learning algorithms in different complex environments. This therefore overcomes many difficulties involved with standard multi-objective reinforcement learning (MORL) methods existing in the current literature. The framework creates a platform as a testbed environment to develop methods for solving various problems associated with the current MORL. Details of the framework implementation can be referred to http://www.deakin.edu.au/~thanhthi/drl.htm.

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In recent years, a specific machine learning method called deep learning has gained huge attraction, as it has obtained astonishing results in broad applications such as pattern recognition, speech recognition, computer vision, and natural language processing. Recent research has also been shown that deep learning techniques can be combined with reinforcement learning methods to learn useful representations for the problems with high dimensional raw data input. This chapter reviews the recent advances in deep reinforcement learning with a focus on the most used deep architectures such as autoencoders, convolutional neural networks and recurrent neural networks which have successfully been come together with the reinforcement learning framework.

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Mobile network that millions of people use every day is one of the most complex systems in real world. Optimization of mobile network to meet exploding customer demand and reduce CAPEX/OPEX poses greater challenges than in prior works. Actually, learning to solve complex problems in real world to benefit everyone and make the world better has long been ultimate goal of AI. However, application of deep reinforcement learning (DRL) to complex problems in real world still remains unsolved, due to imperfect information, data scarcity and complex rules in real world, potential negative impact to real world, etc. To bridge this reality gap, we propose a sim-to-real framework to direct transfer learning from simulation to real world without any training in real world. First, we distill temporal-spatial relationships between cells and mobile users to scalable 3D image-like tensor to best characterize partially observed mobile network. Second, inspired by AlphaGo, we introduce a novel self-play mechanism to empower DRL agents to gradually improve intelligence by competing for best record on multiple tasks, just like athletes compete for world record in decathlon. Third, a decentralized DRL method is proposed to coordinate multi-agents to compete and cooperate as a team to maximize global reward and minimize potential negative impact. Using 7693 unseen test tasks over 160 unseen mobile networks in another simulator as well as 6 field trials on 4 commercial mobile networks in real world, we demonstrate the capability of this sim-to-real framework to direct transfer the learning not only from one simulator to another simulator, but also from simulation to real world. This is the first time that a DRL agent successfully transfers its learning directly from simulation to very complex real world problems with imperfect information, complex rules, huge state/action space, and multi-agent interactions.

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