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Monte-Carlo simulation balancing

Silver, D; Tesauro, G; (2009) Monte-Carlo simulation balancing. Proceedings of the 26th International Conference On Machine Learning, ICML 2009 945 - 952.

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Abstract

In this paper we introduce the first algorithms for efficiently learning a simulation policy for Monte-Carlo search. Our main idea is to optimise the balance of a simulation policy, so that an accurate spread of simulation outcomes is maintained, rather than optimising the direct strength of the simulation policy. We develop two algorithms for balancing a simulation policy by gradient descent. The first algorithm optimises the balance of complete simulations, using a policy gradient algorithm; whereas the second algorithm optimises the balance over every two steps of simulation. We compare our algorithms to reinforcement learning and supervised learning algorithms for maximising the strength of the simulation policy. We test each algorithm in the domain of 5 × 5 and 6 × 6 Computer Go, using a softmax policy that is parameterised by weights for a hundred simple patterns. When used in a simple Monte-Carlo search, the policies learnt by simulation balancing achieved significantly better performance, with half the mean squared error of a uniform random policy, and similar overall performance to a sophisticated Go engine.

Type:Article
Title:Monte-Carlo simulation balancing
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Computer Science

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