Master Thesis: Deep Reinforcement Learning using Capsules in Advanced Game Environments

I just finished my Master’s Thesis at University of Agder. Read it in full here.


Reinforcement Learning (RL) is a research area that has blossomed tremendously in recent years and has shown remarkable potential for artificial intelligence based opponents in computer games. This success is primarily due to vast capabilities of Convolutional Neural Networks (ConvNet), enabling algorithms to extract useful information from noisy environments. Capsule Network (CapsNet) is a recent introduction to the Deep Learning algorithm group and has only barely begun to be explored. The network is an architecture for image classification, with superior performance for classification of the MNIST dataset. CapsNets have not been explored beyond image classification.
This thesis introduces the use of CapsNet for Q-Learning based game algorithms. To successfully apply CapsNet in advanced game play, three main contributions follow. First, the introduction of four new game environments as frameworks for RL research with increasing complexity, namely Flash RL, Deep Line Wars, Deep RTS, and Deep Maze. These environments fill the gap between relatively simple and more complex game environments available for RL research and are in the thesis used to test and explore the CapsNet behavior.
Second, the thesis introduces a generative modeling approach to produce artificial training data for use in Deep Learning models including CapsNets. We empirically show that conditional generative modeling can successfully generate game data of sufficient quality to train a Deep Q-Network well.
Third, we show that CapsNet is a reliable architecture for Deep Q-Learning based algorithms for game AI. A capsule is a group of neurons that determine the presence of objects in the data and is in the literature shown to increase the robustness of training and predictions while lowering the amount training data needed. It should, therefore, be ideally suited for game plays.

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