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Title: Damped Anderson mixing for deep reinforcement learning: Acceleration, convergence, and stabilization Authors:  Linglong Kong - University of Alberta (Canada) [presenting]
Abstract: Anderson mixing has been heuristically applied to reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms for accelerating convergence and improving the sampling efficiency of deep RL. Despite its heuristic improvement of convergence, a rigorous mathematical justification for the benefits of Anderson mixing in RL has not yet been put forward. We provide deeper insights into a class of acceleration schemes built on Anderson mixing that improve the convergence of deep RL algorithms. The main results establish a connection between Anderson mixing and quasi-Newton methods and prove that Anderson mixing increases the convergence radius of policy iteration schemes by an extra contraction factor. The key focus of the analysis roots in the fixed-point iteration nature of RL. We further propose a stabilization strategy by introducing a stable regularization term in Anderson mixing and a differentiable, non-expansive MellowMax operator that can allow both faster convergence and more stable behavior. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our proposed method enhances the convergence, stability, and performance of RL algorithms.