next up previous
Next: Introduction

Reinforcement Learning: A Survey

Leslie Pack Kaelbling
Michael L. Littman
Computer Science Department, Box 1910, Brown University
Providence, RI 02912-1910 USA
- Andrew W. Moore
Smith Hall 221, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 USA


This paper surveys the field of reinforcement learning from a computer-science perspective. It is written to be accessible to researchers familiar with machine learning. Both the historical basis of the field and a broad selection of current work are summarized. Reinforcement learning is the problem faced by an agent that learns behavior through trial-and-error interactions with a dynamic environment. The work described here has a resemblance to work in psychology, but differs considerably in the details and in the use of the word ``reinforcement.'' The paper discusses central issues of reinforcement learning, including trading off exploration and exploitation, establishing the foundations of the field via Markov decision theory, learning from delayed reinforcement, constructing empirical models to accelerate learning, making use of generalization and hierarchy, and coping with hidden state. It concludes with a survey of some implemented systems and an assessment of the practical utility of current methods for reinforcement learning.

Leslie Pack Kaelbling
Wed May 1 13:19:13 EDT 1996