Dueling Posterior Sampling for Preference-Based Reinforcement Learning

08/04/2019 ∙ by Ellen R. Novoseller, et al. ∙ 12

In preference-based reinforcement learning (RL), an agent interacts with the environment while receiving preferences instead of absolute feedback. While there is increasing research activity in preference-based RL, the design of formal frameworks that admit tractable theoretical analysis remains an open challenge. Building upon ideas from preference-based bandit learning and posterior sampling in RL, we present Dueling Posterior Sampling (DPS), which employs preference-based posterior sampling to learn both the system dynamics and the underlying utility function that governs the user's preferences. Because preference feedback is provided on trajectories rather than individual state/action pairs, we develop a Bayesian approach to solving the credit assignment problem, translating user preferences to a posterior distribution over state/action reward models. We prove an asymptotic no-regret rate for DPS with a Bayesian logistic regression credit assignment model; to our knowledge, this is the first regret guarantee for preference-based RL. We also discuss possible avenues for extending this proof methodology to analyze other credit assignment models. Finally, we evaluate the approach empirically, showing competitive performance against existing baselines.

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