Get our free extension to see links to code for papers anywhere online!Free add-on: code for papers everywhere!Free add-on: See code for papers anywhere!

CMAP, LMO

Abstract:In this paper, we consider the problem of learning in adversarial Markov decision processes [MDPs] with an oblivious adversary in a full-information setting. The agent interacts with an environment during $T$ episodes, each of which consists of $H$ stages, and each episode is evaluated with respect to a reward function that will be revealed only at the end of the episode. We propose an algorithm, called APO-MVP, that achieves a regret bound of order $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(\mathrm{poly}(H)\sqrt{SAT})$, where $S$ and $A$ are sizes of the state and action spaces, respectively. This result improves upon the best-known regret bound by a factor of $\sqrt{S}$, bridging the gap between adversarial and stochastic MDPs, and matching the minimax lower bound $\Omega(\sqrt{H^3SAT})$ as far as the dependencies in $S,A,T$ are concerned. The proposed algorithm and analysis completely avoid the typical tool given by occupancy measures; instead, it performs policy optimization based only on dynamic programming and on a black-box online linear optimization strategy run over estimated advantage functions, making it easy to implement. The analysis leverages two recent techniques: policy optimization based on online linear optimization strategies (Jonckheere et al., 2023) and a refined martingale analysis of the impact on values of estimating transitions kernels (Zhang et al., 2023).

Via

Abstract:Generative Flow Networks (GFlowNets) treat sampling from distributions over compositional discrete spaces as a sequential decision-making problem, training a stochastic policy to construct objects step by step. Recent studies have revealed strong connections between GFlowNets and entropy-regularized reinforcement learning. Building on these insights, we propose to enhance planning capabilities of GFlowNets by applying Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS). Specifically, we show how the MENTS algorithm (Xiao et al., 2019) can be adapted for GFlowNets and used during both training and inference. Our experiments demonstrate that this approach improves the sample efficiency of GFlowNet training and the generation fidelity of pre-trained GFlowNet models.

Via

Authors:Antoine Scheid, Daniil Tiapkin, Etienne Boursier, Aymeric Capitaine, El Mahdi El Mhamdi, Eric Moulines, Michael I. Jordan, Alain Durmus

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:This work considers a repeated principal-agent bandit game, where the principal can only interact with her environment through the agent. The principal and the agent have misaligned objectives and the choice of action is only left to the agent. However, the principal can influence the agent's decisions by offering incentives which add up to his rewards. The principal aims to iteratively learn an incentive policy to maximize her own total utility. This framework extends usual bandit problems and is motivated by several practical applications, such as healthcare or ecological taxation, where traditionally used mechanism design theories often overlook the learning aspect of the problem. We present nearly optimal (with respect to a horizon $T$) learning algorithms for the principal's regret in both multi-armed and linear contextual settings. Finally, we support our theoretical guarantees through numerical experiments.

Via

Authors:Daniil Tiapkin, Denis Belomestny, Daniele Calandriello, Eric Moulines, Remi Munos, Alexey Naumov, Pierre Perrault, Michal Valko, Pierre Menard

Abstract:In this paper, we introduce Randomized Q-learning (RandQL), a novel randomized model-free algorithm for regret minimization in episodic Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). To the best of our knowledge, RandQL is the first tractable model-free posterior sampling-based algorithm. We analyze the performance of RandQL in both tabular and non-tabular metric space settings. In tabular MDPs, RandQL achieves a regret bound of order $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\sqrt{H^{5}SAT})$, where $H$ is the planning horizon, $S$ is the number of states, $A$ is the number of actions, and $T$ is the number of episodes. For a metric state-action space, RandQL enjoys a regret bound of order $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(H^{5/2} T^{(d_z+1)/(d_z+2)})$, where $d_z$ denotes the zooming dimension. Notably, RandQL achieves optimistic exploration without using bonuses, relying instead on a novel idea of learning rate randomization. Our empirical study shows that RandQL outperforms existing approaches on baseline exploration environments.

Via

Authors:Daniil Tiapkin, Denis Belomestny, Daniele Calandriello, Eric Moulines, Alexey Naumov, Pierre Perrault, Michal Valko, Pierre Menard

Abstract:Incorporating expert demonstrations has empirically helped to improve the sample efficiency of reinforcement learning (RL). This paper quantifies theoretically to what extent this extra information reduces RL's sample complexity. In particular, we study the demonstration-regularized reinforcement learning that leverages the expert demonstrations by KL-regularization for a policy learned by behavior cloning. Our findings reveal that using $N^{\mathrm{E}}$ expert demonstrations enables the identification of an optimal policy at a sample complexity of order $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\mathrm{Poly}(S,A,H)/(\varepsilon^2 N^{\mathrm{E}}))$ in finite and $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\mathrm{Poly}(d,H)/(\varepsilon^2 N^{\mathrm{E}}))$ in linear Markov decision processes, where $\varepsilon$ is the target precision, $H$ the horizon, $A$ the number of action, $S$ the number of states in the finite case and $d$ the dimension of the feature space in the linear case. As a by-product, we provide tight convergence guarantees for the behaviour cloning procedure under general assumptions on the policy classes. Additionally, we establish that demonstration-regularized methods are provably efficient for reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF). In this respect, we provide theoretical evidence showing the benefits of KL-regularization for RLHF in tabular and linear MDPs. Interestingly, we avoid pessimism injection by employing computationally feasible regularization to handle reward estimation uncertainty, thus setting our approach apart from the prior works.

Via

Abstract:The recently proposed generative flow networks (GFlowNets) are a method of training a policy to sample compositional discrete objects with probabilities proportional to a given reward via a sequence of actions. GFlowNets exploit the sequential nature of the problem, drawing parallels with reinforcement learning (RL). Our work extends the connection between RL and GFlowNets to a general case. We demonstrate how the task of learning a generative flow network can be efficiently redefined as an entropy-regularized RL problem with a specific reward and regularizer structure. Furthermore, we illustrate the practical efficiency of this reformulation by applying standard soft RL algorithms to GFlowNet training across several probabilistic modeling tasks. Contrary to previously reported results, we show that entropic RL approaches can be competitive against established GFlowNet training methods. This perspective opens a direct path for integrating reinforcement learning principles into the realm of generative flow networks.

Via

Abstract:In this paper we consider the problem of obtaining sharp bounds for the performance of temporal difference (TD) methods with linear functional approximation for policy evaluation in discounted Markov Decision Processes. We show that a simple algorithm with a universal and instance-independent step size together with Polyak-Ruppert tail averaging is sufficient to obtain near-optimal variance and bias terms. We also provide the respective sample complexity bounds. Our proof technique is based on refined error bounds for linear stochastic approximation together with the novel stability result for the product of random matrices that arise from the TD-type recurrence.

Via

Abstract:In this work, we derive sharp non-asymptotic deviation bounds for weighted sums of Dirichlet random variables. These bounds are based on a novel integral representation of the density of a weighted Dirichlet sum. This representation allows us to obtain a Gaussian-like approximation for the sum distribution using geometry and complex analysis methods. Our results generalize similar bounds for the Beta distribution obtained in the seminal paper Alfers and Dinges [1984]. Additionally, our results can be considered a sharp non-asymptotic version of the inverse of Sanov's theorem studied by Ganesh and O'Connell [1999] in the Bayesian setting. Based on these results, we derive new deviation bounds for the Dirichlet process posterior means with application to Bayesian bootstrap. Finally, we apply our estimates to the analysis of the Multinomial Thompson Sampling (TS) algorithm in multi-armed bandits and significantly sharpen the existing regret bounds by making them independent of the size of the arms distribution support.

Via

Abstract:We consider the problem of minimizing a non-convex function over a smooth manifold $\mathcal{M}$. We propose a novel algorithm, the Orthogonal Directions Constrained Gradient Method (ODCGM) which only requires computing a projection onto a vector space. ODCGM is infeasible but the iterates are constantly pulled towards the manifold, ensuring the convergence of ODCGM towards $\mathcal{M}$. ODCGM is much simpler to implement than the classical methods which require the computation of a retraction. Moreover, we show that ODCGM exhibits the near-optimal oracle complexities $\mathcal{O}(1/\varepsilon^2)$ and $\mathcal{O}(1/\varepsilon^4)$ in the deterministic and stochastic cases, respectively. Furthermore, we establish that, under an appropriate choice of the projection metric, our method recovers the landing algorithm of Ablin and Peyr\'e (2022), a recently introduced algorithm for optimization over the Stiefel manifold. As a result, we significantly extend the analysis of Ablin and Peyr\'e (2022), establishing near-optimal rates both in deterministic and stochastic frameworks. Finally, we perform numerical experiments which shows the efficiency of ODCGM in a high-dimensional setting.

Via

Authors:Daniil Tiapkin, Denis Belomestny, Daniele Calandriello, Eric Moulines, Remi Munos, Alexey Naumov, Pierre Perrault, Yunhao Tang, Michal Valko, Pierre Menard

Abstract:We consider the reinforcement learning (RL) setting, in which the agent has to act in unknown environment driven by a Markov Decision Process (MDP) with sparse or even reward free signals. In this situation, exploration becomes the main challenge. In this work, we study the maximum entropy exploration problem of two different types. The first type is visitation entropy maximization that was previously considered by Hazan et al. (2019) in the discounted setting. For this type of exploration, we propose an algorithm based on a game theoretic representation that has $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(H^3 S^2 A / \varepsilon^2)$ sample complexity thus improving the $\varepsilon$-dependence of Hazan et al. (2019), where $S$ is a number of states, $A$ is a number of actions, $H$ is an episode length, and $\varepsilon$ is a desired accuracy. The second type of entropy we study is the trajectory entropy. This objective function is closely related to the entropy-regularized MDPs, and we propose a simple modification of the UCBVI algorithm that has a sample complexity of order $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(1/\varepsilon)$ ignoring dependence in $S, A, H$. Interestingly enough, it is the first theoretical result in RL literature establishing that the exploration problem for the regularized MDPs can be statistically strictly easier (in terms of sample complexity) than for the ordinary MDPs.

Via