Motivated Reinforcement Learning

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Motivation is modelled by processes for task selection, the computation of experience-based reward signals for different tasks and arbitration between reward signals to produce a motivation signal. Two specific models of motivation based on the experience-oriented psychological concepts of interest and competence are designed within this framework. The first models motivation as a function of environmental experiences while the second models motivation as an introspective process. This thesis synthesises motivation and reinforcement learning as motivated reinforcement learning agents.


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Three models of motivated reinforcement learning are presented to explore the combination of motivation with three existing reinforcement learning components. The first model combines motivation with flat reinforcement learning for highly adaptive learning of behaviours for performing multiple tasks. The second model facilitates the recall of learned behaviours by combining motivation with multi-option reinforcement learning. In the third model, motivation is combined with an hierarchical reinforcement learning component to allow both the recall of learned behaviours and the reuse of these behaviours as abstract actions for future learning.

Because motivated reinforcement learning agents have capabilities beyond those of existing reinforcement learning approaches, new techniques are required to measure their performance. The secondary aim of this thesis is to develop metrics for measuring the performance of different computational models of motivation with respect to the adaptive, multi-task learning they motivate. This is achieved by analysing the behaviour of motivated reinforcement learning agents incorporating different motivation functions with different learning components. Two new metrics are introduced that evaluate the behaviour learned by motivated reinforcement learning agents in terms of the variety of tasks learned and the complexity of those tasks.

Persistent, multi-player computer game worlds are used as the primary example of complex, dynamic environments in this thesis.

Intrinsically motivated Reinforcement Learning

Motivated reinforcement learning agents are applied to control the non-player characters in games. Simulated game environments are used for evaluating and comparing motivated reinforcement learning agents using different motivation and learning components. The performance and scalability of these agents are analysed in a series of empirical studies in dynamic environments and environments of progressively increasing complexity.

Game environments simulating two types of complexity increase are studied: environments with increasing numbers of potential learning tasks and environments with learning tasks that require behavioural cycles comprising more actions.

Game AI research group

A number of key conclusions can be drawn from the empirical studies, concerning both different computational models of motivation and their combination with different reinforcement learning components. Experimental results confirm that rhythmic behavioural cycles, adaptive behaviour and multi-task learning can be achieved using computational models of motivation as an experience-based reward signal for reinforcement learning.

In dynamic environments, motivated reinforcement learning agents incorporating introspective competence motivation adapt more rapidly to change than agents motivated by interest alone. Agents incorporating competence motivation also scale to environments of greater complexity than agents motivated by interest alone. Motivated reinforcement learning agents combining motivation with flat reinforcement learning are the most adaptive in dynamic environments and exhibit scalable behavioural variety and complexity as the number of potential learning tasks is increased.

Game AI Research Group at Queen Mary University of London

However, when tasks require behavioural cycles comprising more actions, motivated reinforcement learning agents using a multi-option learning component exhibit greater scalability. Motivated multi-option reinforcement learning also provides a more scalable approach to recall than motivated hierarchical reinforcement learning. In summary, this thesis makes contributions in two key areas. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, see our Privacy Policy.

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NIPS The mutual information is a core statistical quantity that has applications in all areas of machine learning, whether this is in training of density models over multiple data modalities, in maximising the efficiency of noisy transmission channels, or when learning behaviour policies for exploration by artificial agents. Published Jan. View the blog. Show all results.

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