Closed-Form Analytical Results for Maximum Entropy Reinforcement Learning

Argenis Arriojas, Stas Tiomkin, Rahul V. Kulkarni

We introduce a mapping between Maximum Entropy Reinforcement Learning (MaxEnt RL) and Markovian processes conditioned on rare events. In the long time limit, this mapping allows us to derive analytical expressions for the optimal policy, dynamics and initial state distributions for the general case of stochastic dynamics in MaxEnt RL. We find that soft-$\mathcal{Q}$ functions in MaxEnt RL can be obtained from the Perron-Frobenius eigenvalue and the corresponding left eigenvector of a regular, non-negative matrix derived from the underlying Markov Decision Process (MDP). The results derived lead to novel algorithms for model-based and model-free MaxEnt RL, which we validate by numerical simulations. The mapping established in this work opens further avenues for the application of novel analytical and computational approaches to problems in MaxEnt RL. We make our code available at: https://github.com/argearriojas/maxent-rl-mdp-scripts

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