Meta-learning within projective simulation

Adi Makmal, Alexey A. Melnikov, Vedran Dunjko, Hans J. Briegel
IEEE Access 4, 2110–2122 (2016)

Learning models of artificial intelligence can nowadays perform very well on a large variety of tasks. However, in practice, different task environments are best handled by different learning models, rather than a single universal approach. Most non-trivial models thus require the adjustment of several to many learning parameters, which is often done on a case-by-case basis by an external party. Meta-learning refers to the ability of an agent to autonomously and dynamically adjust its own learning parameters or meta-parameters. In this paper, we show how projective simulation, a recently developed model of artificial intelligence, can naturally be extended to account for meta-learning in reinforcement learning settings. The projective simulation approach is based on a random walk process over a network of clips. The suggested meta-learning scheme builds upon the same design and employs clip networks to monitor the agent’s performance and to adjust its meta-parameters on the fly. We distinguish between reflex-type adaptation and adaptation through learning, and show the utility of both approaches. In addition, a trade-off between flexibility and learning-time is addressed. The extended model is examined on three different kinds of reinforcement learning tasks, in which the agent has different optimal values of the meta-parameters, and is shown to perform well, reaching near-optimal to optimal success rates in all of them, without ever needing to manually adjust any meta-parameter.

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