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Weakly Coupled Deep Q-Networks

Ibrahim El Shar · Daniel Jiang

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #216
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[ Paper [ Slides [ Poster [ OpenReview
Tue 12 Dec 3:15 p.m. PST — 5:15 p.m. PST

Abstract: We propose weakly coupled deep Q-networks (WCDQN), a novel deep reinforcement learning algorithm that enhances performance in a class of structured problems called weakly coupled Markov decision processes (WCMDP). WCMDPs consist of multiple independent subproblems connected by an action space constraint, which is a structural property that frequently emerges in practice. Despite this appealing structure, WCMDPs quickly become intractable as the number of subproblems grows. WCDQN employs a single network to train multiple DQN ``subagents,'' one for each subproblem, and then combine their solutions to establish an upper bound on the optimal action value. This guides the main DQN agent towards optimality. We show that the tabular version, weakly coupled Q-learning (WCQL), converges almost surely to the optimal action value. Numerical experiments show faster convergence compared to DQN and related techniques in settings with as many as 10 subproblems, $3^{10}$ total actions, and a continuous state space.

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