Table-Based Q-Learning in Under 1KB

Table-Based Q-Learning in Under 1KB

Table-Based Q-Learning in Under 1KB: Q-learning is an algorithm in which an agent interacts with its environment and collects rewards for taking desirable actions.


Q-learning is an algorithm in which an agent interacts with its environment and collects rewards for taking desirable actions.

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The simplest implementation of Q-learning is referred to as tabular or table-based Q-learning. There are tons of articles, tutorials, etc. already available on the web which describe Q-learning so I won’t go into excruciating detail here. Instead, I want to show how efficiently table-base Q-learning can be done using tinymind. In this article, I will describe how tinymind implements Q-learning using C++ templates and fixed-point (Q-format) numbers as well as go thru the example in the repo.

The Maze Problem

A common table-based Q-learning problem is to train a virtual mouse to find its way out of a maze to get the cheese (reward). Tinymind contains an example program which demonstrates how the Q-learning template library works.

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In the example program, we define the maze:

Q-Learning unit test. Learn the best path out of a simple maze.

5 == Outside the maze
|                       |                       |
|                       |                       |
|           0           |          1             / 5
|                       |                       |
|____________/  ________|__/  __________________|_______________________
|                       |                       |                       |
|                       |                        /                      |
|           4           |          3            |           2           |
|                        /                      |                       |
|__/  __________________|_______________________|_______________________|
The paths out of the maze:

We define all of our types in a common header so that we can separate the maze learner code from the training and file management code. I have done this so that we can measure the amount of code and data required for the Q-learner alone. The common header defines the maze as well as the type required to hold states and actions:

// 6 rooms and 6 actions

typedef uint8_t state_t;
typedef uint8_t action_t;

We train the mouse by dropping it into a randomly-selected room (or on the outside of it where the cheese is). The mouse starts off by taking a random action from a list of available actions at each step. The mouse receives a reward only when he finds the cheese (e.g. makes it to position 5 outside the maze). If the mouse is dropped into position 5, he has to learn to stay there and not wander back into the maze.

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