Our joint paper, with Romuald Elie and Carl Remlinger entitled Reinforcement Learning in Economics and Finance just appeared in Computational Economics,
Reinforcement learning algorithms describe how an agent can learn an optimal action policy in a sequential decision process, through repeated experience. In a given environment, the agent policy provides him some running and terminal rewards. As in online learning, the agent learns sequentially. As in multi-armed bandit problems, when an agent picks an action, he can not infer ex-post the rewards induced by other action choices. In reinforcement learning, his actions have consequences: they influence not only rewards, but also future states of the world. The goal of reinforcement learning is to find an optimal policy — a mapping from the states of the world to the set of actions, in order to maximize cumulative reward, which is a long term strategy. Exploring might be sub-optimal on a short-term horizon but could lead to optimal long-term ones. Many problems of optimal control, popular in economics for more than forty years, can be expressed in the reinforcement learning framework, and recent advances in computational science, provided in particular by deep learning algorithms, can be used by economists in order to solve complex behavioral problems. In this article, we propose a state-of-the-art of reinforcement learning techniques, and present applications in economics, game theory, operation research and finance.
Last summer, I supervised a summer intern, Cédric Odin, student at Ecole Normale in Ker Lann, France, on Dynamic Programming in Distributional Reinforcement Learning. A state-of-the-art is now available online https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03168889
The classic approach to reinforcement learning is limited in that it only predicts the expected return. The specialized literature has long tried to remedy this problem by studying risk-sensitive models, but the distributional approach will not emerge until 2017. Since the seminal article Bellemare, Dabney, and Munos 2017 and the state-of-the-art performance of the C51 algorithm in the ATARI 2600 suite of benchmark tasks (Bellemare, Naddaf, et al. 2013), research has focused on understanding the behaviour of distributional algorithms. In this paper we place Bellemare’s original results in distributional dynamic programming in parallel with the classic results.
I will be in London, UK, at the Centre for Central Banking Studies, invited as a keynote speaker for a major conference. For my talk, on Econometric Models and Statistical Learning Techniques, the agenda is the follownig
- introduction on High Dimensional Data and Modeling
- foundations of econometric models, and probabilistic aspects
- machine learning techniques, with a discussion on boosting, cross validation
- classification, from the logistic regression to trees and random forest
- machine learning tools that can be used in econometrics, such as bootstrap, principal component analysis / partial least squares, and instrumental variables and variable selection
Slides are avaible (as usual, the pdf version is more informative than the one on slideshare where animations are missing)