Cost-Sensitive Exploration in Bayesian Reinforcement Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 25 (NIPS 2012)

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Dongho Kim, Kee-eung Kim, Pascal Poupart


In this paper, we consider Bayesian reinforcement learning (BRL) where actions incur costs in addition to rewards, and thus exploration has to be constrained in terms of the expected total cost while learning to maximize the expected long-term total reward. In order to formalize cost-sensitive exploration, we use the constrained Markov decision process (CMDP) as the model of the environment, in which we can naturally encode exploration requirements using the cost function. We extend BEETLE, a model-based BRL method, for learning in the environment with cost constraints. We demonstrate the cost-sensitive exploration behaviour in a number of simulated problems.