Deep Model-Based Reinforcement Learning for High-Dimensional Problems, a Survey

Aske Plaat, Walter Kosters, Mike Preuss

Deep reinforcement learning has shown remarkable success in the past few years. Highly complex sequential decision making problems have been solved in tasks such as game playing and robotics. Unfortunately, the sample complexity of most deep reinforcement learning methods is high, precluding their use in some important applications. Model-based reinforcement learning creates an explicit model of the environment dynamics to reduce the need for environment samples. Current deep learning methods use high-capacity networks to solve high-dimensional problems. Unfortunately, high-capacity models typically require many samples, negating the potential benefit of lower sample complexity in model-based methods. A challenge for deep model-based methods is therefore to achieve high predictive power while maintaining low sample complexity. In recent years, many model-based methods have been introduced to address this challenge. In this paper, we survey the contemporary model-based landscape. First we discuss definitions and relations to other fields. We propose a taxonomy based on three approaches: using explicit planning on given transitions, using explicit planning on learned transitions, and end-to-end learning of both planning and transitions. We use these approaches to organize a comprehensive overview of important recent developments such as latent models. We describe methods and benchmarks, and we suggest directions for future work for each of the approaches. Among promising research directions are curriculum learning, uncertainty modeling, and use of latent models for transfer learning.

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