288 pp. per issue
6 x 9, illustrated
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Neural Computation

March 2012, Vol. 24, No. 3, Pages 577-606.
(doi: 10.1162/NECO_a_00246)
© 2011 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MOSAIC for Multiple-Reward Environments
Article PDF (972.83 KB)

Reinforcement learning (RL) can provide a basic framework for autonomous robots to learn to control and maximize future cumulative rewards in complex environments. To achieve high performance, RL controllers must consider the complex external dynamics for movements and task (reward function) and optimize control commands. For example, a robot playing tennis and squash needs to cope with the different dynamics of a tennis or squash racket and such dynamic environmental factors as the wind. In addition, this robot has to tailor its tactics simultaneously under the rules of either game. This double complexity of the external dynamics and reward function sometimes becomes more complex when both the multiple dynamics and multiple reward functions switch implicitly, as in the situation of a real (multi-agent) game of tennis where one player cannot observe the intention of her opponents or her partner. The robot must consider its opponent's and its partner's unobservable behavioral goals (reward function). In this article, we address how an RL agent should be designed to handle such double complexity of dynamics and reward. We have previously proposed modular selection and identification for control (MOSAIC) to cope with nonstationary dynamics where appropriate controllers are selected and learned among many candidates based on the error of its paired dynamics predictor: the forward model. Here we extend this framework for RL and propose MOSAIC-MR architecture. It resembles MOSAIC in spirit and selects and learns an appropriate RL controller based on the RL controller's TD error using the errors of the dynamics (the forward model) and the reward predictors. Furthermore, unlike other MOSAIC variants for RL, RL controllers are not a priori paired with the fixed predictors of dynamics and rewards. The simulation results demonstrate that MOSAIC-MR outperforms other counterparts because of this flexible association ability among RL controllers, forward models, and reward predictors.