Reinforcement learning usually makes use of numerical rewards, which have nice properties but also come with drawbacks and difficulties. Using rewards on an ordinal scale (ordinal rewards) is an alternative to numerical rewards that has received more attention in recent years. In this paper, a general approach to adapting reinforcement learning problems to the use of ordinal rewards is presented and motivated. We show how to convert common reinforcement learning algorithms to an ordinal variation by the example of Q-learning and introduce Ordinal Deep Q-Networks, which adapt deep reinforcement learning to ordinal rewards. Additionally, we run evaluations on problems provided by the OpenAI Gym framework, showing that our ordinal variants exhibit a performance that is comparable to the numerical variations for a number of problems. We also give first evidence that our ordinal variant is able to produce better results for problems with less engineered and simpler-to-design reward signals.
- Pub Date:
- May 2019
- Computer Science - Machine Learning;
- Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence;
- Statistics - Machine Learning
- replaced figures for better visibility, added github repository, more details about source of experimental results, updated target value calculation for standard and ordinal Deep Q-Network