Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence
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Efficient Gradient Estimation for Motor Control Learning
Gregory Lawrence, Noah Cowan, Stuart Russell
The task of estimating the gradient of a function in the presence of noise is central to several forms of reinforcement learning, including policy search methods. We present two techniques for reducing gradient estimation errors in the presence of observable input noise applied to the control signal. The first method extends the idea of a reinforcement baseline by fitting a local linear model to the function whose gradient is being estimated; we show how to find the linear model that minimizes the variance of the gradient estimate, and how to estimate the model from data. The second method improves this further by discounting components of the gradient vector that have high variance. These methods are applied to the problem of motor control learning, where actuator noise has a significant influence on behavior. In particular, we apply the techniques to learn locally optimal controllers for a dart-throwing task using a simulated three-link arm; we demonstrate that proposed methods significantly improve the reward function gradient estimate and, consequently, the learning curve, over existing methods
Pages: 354-361
PS Link:
PDF Link: /papers/03/p354-lawrence.pdf
AUTHOR = "Gregory Lawrence and Noah Cowan and Stuart Russell",
TITLE = "Efficient Gradient Estimation for Motor Control Learning",
BOOKTITLE = "Proceedings of the Nineteenth Conference Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI-03)",
PUBLISHER = "Morgan Kaufmann",
ADDRESS = "San Francisco, CA",
YEAR = "2003",
PAGES = "354--361"

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