Book Image

Deep Reinforcement Learning Hands-On - Second Edition

By : Maxim Lapan
5 (2)
Book Image

Deep Reinforcement Learning Hands-On - Second Edition

5 (2)
By: Maxim Lapan

Overview of this book

Deep Reinforcement Learning Hands-On, Second Edition is an updated and expanded version of the bestselling guide to the very latest reinforcement learning (RL) tools and techniques. It provides you with an introduction to the fundamentals of RL, along with the hands-on ability to code intelligent learning agents to perform a range of practical tasks. With six new chapters devoted to a variety of up-to-the-minute developments in RL, including discrete optimization (solving the Rubik's Cube), multi-agent methods, Microsoft's TextWorld environment, advanced exploration techniques, and more, you will come away from this book with a deep understanding of the latest innovations in this emerging field. In addition, you will gain actionable insights into such topic areas as deep Q-networks, policy gradient methods, continuous control problems, and highly scalable, non-gradient methods. You will also discover how to build a real hardware robot trained with RL for less than $100 and solve the Pong environment in just 30 minutes of training using step-by-step code optimization. In short, Deep Reinforcement Learning Hands-On, Second Edition, is your companion to navigating the exciting complexities of RL as it helps you attain experience and knowledge through real-world examples.
Table of Contents (28 chapters)
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The random CartPole agent

Although the environment is much more complex than our first example in The anatomy of the agent section, the code of the agent is much shorter. This is the power of reusability, abstractions, and third-party libraries!

So, here is the code (you can find it in Chapter02/

import gym
if __name__ == "__main__":
    env = gym.make("CartPole-v0")
    total_reward = 0.0
    total_steps = 0
    obs = env.reset()

Here, we created the environment and initialized the counter of steps and the reward accumulator. On the last line, we reset the environment to obtain the first observation (which we will not use, as our agent is stochastic).

    while True:
        action = env.action_space.sample()
        obs, reward, done, _ = env.step(action)
        total_reward += reward
        total_steps += 1
        if done:
    print("Episode done in %d steps, total reward %.2f" % (
        total_steps, total_reward))

In this loop, we sampled a random action, then asked the environment to execute it and return to us the next observation (obs), the reward, and the done flag. If the episode is over, we stop the loop and show how many steps we have taken and how much reward has been accumulated. If you start this example, you will see something like this (not exactly, though, due to the agent's randomness):

rl_book_samples/Chapter02$ python
Episode done in 12 steps, total reward 12.00

As with the interactive session, the warning is not related to our code, but to Gym's internals. On average, our random agent takes 12 to 15 steps before the pole falls and the episode ends. Most of the environments in Gym have a "reward boundary," which is the average reward that the agent should gain during 100 consecutive episodes to "solve" the environment. For CartPole, this boundary is 195, which means that, on average, the agent must hold the stick for 195 time steps or longer. Using this perspective, our random agent's performance looks poor. However, don't be disappointed; we are just at the beginning, and soon you will solve CartPole and many other much more interesting and challenging environments.