Training Agents to Perform Sequential Behavior

TitleTraining Agents to Perform Sequential Behavior
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsColombetti, M., & Dorigo M.
Other Numbers811
Keywordsadaptive systems, behavior-based robotics, genetic algorithms, learning classifier systems, machine learning, reinforcement learning

This paper is concerned with training an agent to perform sequential behavior. In previous work we have been applying reinforcement learning techniques to control a reactive robot. Obviously, a pure reactive system is limited in the kind of interactions it can learn. In particular, it can only learn what we call pseudo-sequences, that is sequences of actions in which the transition signal is generated by the appearance of a sensorial stimulus. We discuss the difference between pseudo-sequences and proper sequences, and the implication that these differences have on training procedures. A result of our research is that, in case of proper sequences, for learning to be successful the agent must have some kind of memory; moreover it is often necessary to let the trainer and the learner communicate. We study therefore the influence of communication on the learning process. First we consider trainer-to-learner communication introducing the concept of reinforcement sensor, which let the learning robot explicitly know whether the last reinforcement was a reward or a punishment; we also show how the use of this sensor induces the creation of a set of error recovery rules. Then we introduce learner-to-trainer communication, which is used to disambiguate indeterminate training situations, that is situations in which observation alone of the learner behavior does not provide the trainer with enough information to decide if the learner is performing a right or a wrong move. All the design choices we make are discussed and compared by means of experiments in a simulated world.

Bibliographic Notes

ICSI Technical Report TR-93-023

Abbreviated Authors

M. Colombetti and M. Dorigo

ICSI Publication Type

Technical Report