Proceedings Abstracts of the Twenty-Fifth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Theoretically-Grounded Policy Advice from Multiple Teachers in Reinforcement Learning Settings with Applications to Negative Transfer / 2315
Yusen Zhan, Haitham Bou Ammar, Matthew E. Taylor

Policy advice is a transfer learning method where a student agent is able to learn faster via advice from a teacher. However, both this and other reinforcement learning transfer methods have little theoretical analysis. This paper formally defines a setting where multiple teacher agents can provide advice to a student and introduces an algorithm to leverage both autonomous exploration and teacher's advice. Our regret bounds justify the intuition that good teachers help while bad teachers hurt. Using our formalization, we are also able to quantify, for the first time, when negative transfer can occur within such a reinforcement learning setting.