Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)
Marc Rigter, Bruno Lacerda, Nick Hawes
In this work, we address risk-averse Bayes-adaptive reinforcement learning. We pose the problem of optimising the conditional value at risk (CVaR) of the total return in Bayes-adaptive Markov decision processes (MDPs). We show that a policy optimising CVaR in this setting is risk-averse to both the epistemic uncertainty due to the prior distribution over MDPs, and the aleatoric uncertainty due to the inherent stochasticity of MDPs. We reformulate the problem as a two-player stochastic game and propose an approximate algorithm based on Monte Carlo tree search and Bayesian optimisation. Our experiments demonstrate that our approach significantly outperforms baseline approaches for this problem.