Automated Reinforcement Learning: An Overview

Reza Refaei Afshar, Yingqian Zhang, Joaquin Vanschoren, Uzay Kaymak

Reinforcement Learning and recently Deep Reinforcement Learning are popular methods for solving sequential decision making problems modeled as Markov Decision Processes. RL modeling of a problem and selecting algorithms and hyper-parameters require careful considerations as different configurations may entail completely different performances. These considerations are mainly the task of RL experts; however, RL is progressively becoming popular in other fields where the researchers and system designers are not RL experts. Besides, many modeling decisions, such as defining state and action space, size of batches and frequency of batch updating, and number of timesteps are typically made manually. For these reasons, automating different components of RL framework is of great importance and it has attracted much attention in recent years. Automated RL provides a framework in which different components of RL including MDP modeling, algorithm selection and hyper-parameter optimization are modeled and defined automatically. In this article, we explore the literature and present recent work that can be used in automated RL. Moreover, we discuss the challenges, open questions and research directions in AutoRL.

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