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Multi−Task Reinforcement Learning: Shaping and Feature Selection

Matthijs Snel and Shimon Whiteson


Shaping functions can be used in multi-task reinforcement learning (RL) to incorporate knowledge from previously experienced source tasks to speed up learning on a new target task. Earlier work has not clearly motivated choices for the shaping function. This paper discusses and empirically compares several alternatives, and demonstrates that the most intuitive one may not always be the best option. In addition, we extend previous work on identifying good representations for the value and shaping functions, and show that selecting the right representation results in improved generalization over tasks.

Book Title
EWRL 2011: Proceedings of the Ninth European Workshop on Reinforcement Learning