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Algorithms for Learning Markov Field Policies
Abdeslam Boularias · Oliver Kroemer · Jan Peters

Mon Dec 03 07:00 PM -- 12:00 AM (PST) @ Harrah’s Special Events Center 2nd Floor

We present a new graph-based approach for incorporating domain knowledge in reinforcement learning applications. The domain knowledge is given as a weighted graph, or a kernel matrix, that loosely indicates which states should have similar optimal actions. We first introduce a bias into the policy search process by deriving a distribution on policies such that policies that disagree with the provided graph have low probabilities. This distribution corresponds to a Markov Random Field. We then present a reinforcement and an apprenticeship learning algorithms for finding such policy distributions. We also illustrate the advantage of the proposed approach on three problems: swing-up cart-balancing with nonuniform and smooth frictions, gridworlds, and teaching a robot to grasp new objects.

Author Information

Abdeslam Boularias (Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems)
Oliver Kroemer (CMU)
Jan Peters (TU Darmstadt & DFKI)

Jan Peters is a full professor (W3) for Intelligent Autonomous Systems at the Computer Science Department of the Technische Universitaet Darmstadt and at the same time a senior research scientist and group leader at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, where he heads the interdepartmental Robot Learning Group. Jan Peters has received the Dick Volz Best 2007 US PhD Thesis Runner-Up Award, the Robotics: Science & Systems - Early Career Spotlight, the INNS Young Investigator Award, and the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society‘s Early Career Award as well as numerous best paper awards. In 2015, he was awarded an ERC Starting Grant. Jan Peters has studied Computer Science, Electrical, Mechanical and Control Engineering at TU Munich and FernUni Hagen in Germany, at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the University of Southern California (USC). He has received four Master‘s degrees in these disciplines as well as a Computer Science PhD from USC.

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