TD Learning with Constrained Gradients (2017)
Temporal Difference Learning with function approximation is known to be unstable. Previous work like GTD and GTD2 has presented alternative objectives that are stable to minimize for policy evaluation. However, for control, TD-learning with neural networks requires various tricks such as using a target network that updates slowly (DQN). In this work we propose a constraint on the TD update that minimizes change to the target values. This constraint can be applied to the gradients of any TD objective, and can be easily applied to nonlinear function approximation. We validate this update by applying our technique to deep Q-learning, and training without a target network. We also show that adding this constraint on Baird's counterexample keeps Constrained TD-learning from diverging.
In Proceedings of the Deep Reinforcement Learning Symposium, NIPS 2017, Long Beach, CA, USA, December 2017.

Ishan Durugkar Ph.D. Student ishand [at] cs utexas edu
Peter Stone Faculty pstone [at] cs utexas edu