CMPSCI 687: Reinforcement Learning

Fall 2017, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Course Description

This course will provide an introduction to, and comprehensive overview of, reinforcement learning. In general, reinforcement learning algorithms repeatedly answer the question "What should be done next?", and they can learn via trial and error to answer these questions even when there is no supervisor telling the algorithm what the correct answer would have been. Applications of reinforcement learning span across medicine, marketing, robotics, game playing, environmental applications, and dialogue systems, among many others.

Broad topics covered in this course will include: Markov decision processes, reinforcement learning algorithms (model-based / model-free, batch / online, value function based, actor-critics, policy gradient methods, etc.), hierarchical reinforcement learning, representations for reinforcement learning (including deep learning), and connections to animal learning. Special topics may include ensuring the safety of reinforcement learning algorithms, theoretical reinforcement learning, and multi-agent reinforcement learning. This course will emphasize hands-on experience, and assignments will require the implementation and application of many of the algorithms discussed in class.