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Damped Anderson Mixing for Deep Reinforcement Learning: Acceleration, Convergence, and Stabilization

Ke Sun · Yafei Wang · Yi Liu · yingnan zhao · Bo Pan · Shangling Jui · Bei Jiang · Linglong Kong

Keywords: [ Reinforcement Learning and Planning ]


Anderson mixing has been heuristically applied to reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms for accelerating convergence and improving the sampling efficiency of deep RL. Despite its heuristic improvement of convergence, a rigorous mathematical justification for the benefits of Anderson mixing in RL has not yet been put forward. In this paper, we provide deeper insights into a class of acceleration schemes built on Anderson mixing that improve the convergence of deep RL algorithms. Our main results establish a connection between Anderson mixing and quasi-Newton methods and prove that Anderson mixing increases the convergence radius of policy iteration schemes by an extra contraction factor. The key focus of the analysis roots in the fixed-point iteration nature of RL. We further propose a stabilization strategy by introducing a stable regularization term in Anderson mixing and a differentiable, non-expansive MellowMax operator that can allow both faster convergence and more stable behavior. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our proposed method enhances the convergence, stability, and performance of RL algorithms.

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