Reinforcement Learning with Feedback Graphs

NeurIPS 2020

We study episodic reinforcement learning in Markov decision processes when the agent receives additional feedback per step in the form of several transition observations. Such additional observations are available in a range of tasks through extended sensors or prior knowledge about the environment (e.g., when certain actions yield similar outcome). We formalize this setting using a feedback graph over state-action pairs and show that model-based algorithms can leverage the additional feedback for more sample-efficient learning. We give a regret bound that, ignoring logarithmic factors and lower-order terms, depends only on the size of the maximum acyclic subgraph of the feedback graph, in contrast with a polynomial dependency on the number of states and actions in the absence of a feedback graph. Finally, we highlight challenges when leveraging a small dominating set of the feedback graph as compared to the bandit setting and propose a new algorithm that can use knowledge of such a dominating set for more sample-efficient learning of a near-optimal policy. Speakers: Chris Dann, Mehryar Mohri, Yishay Mansour, Ayush Sekhari, Karthik Sridharan