Monte Carlo Tree Search in the Presence of Transition Uncertainty

Farnaz Kohankhaki, Kiarash Aghakasiri,Hongming Zhang,Ting-Han Wei,Chao Gao,Martin Müller

AAAI 2024(2024)

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Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) is an immensely popular search-based framework used for decision making. It is traditionally applied to domains where a perfect simulation model of the environment is available. We study and improve MCTS in the context where the environment model is given but imperfect. We show that the discrepancy between the model and the actual environment can lead to significant performance degradation with standard MCTS. We therefore develop Uncertainty Adapted MCTS (UA-MCTS), a more robust algorithm within the MCTS framework. We estimate the transition uncertainty in the given model, and direct the search towards more certain transitions in the state space. We modify all four MCTS phases to improve the search behavior by considering these estimates. We prove, in the corrupted bandit case, that adding uncertainty information to adapt UCB leads to tighter regret bound than standard UCB. Empirically, we evaluate UA-MCTS and its individual components on the deterministic domains from the MinAtar test suite. Our results demonstrate that UA-MCTS strongly improves MCTS in the presence of model transition errors.
PRS: Learning for Planning and Scheduling,SO: Sampling/Simulation-based Search
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