Fast Online Policy Gradient Learning with SMD Gain Vector Adaptation

Reinforcement learning by direct policy gradient estimation is attractive in theory but in practice leads to notoriously ill-behaved optimization problems. We improve its robustness and speed of convergence with stochastic meta-descent, a gain vector adaptation method that employs fast Hessian-vector products. In our experiments the resulting algorithms outperform previously employed online stochastic, offline conjugate, and natural policy gradient methods.

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