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  1. A basic assumption of traditional reinforcement learning is that the value of a reward does not change once it is received by an agent. The present work forgoes this assumption and considers the situation where the value of a reward decays proportionally to the time elapsed since it was obtained. Emphasizing the inflection point occurring at the time of payment, we use the term asset to refer to a reward that is currently in the possession of an agent. Adopting this language, we initiate the study of depreciating assets within the framework of infinite-horizon quantitative optimization. In particular, we propose a notion of asset depreciation, inspired by classical exponential discounting, where the value of an asset is scaled by a fixed discount factor at each time step after it is obtained by the agent. We formulate an equational characterization of optimality in this context, establish that optimal values and policies can be computed efficiently, and develop a model-free reinforcement learning approach to obtain optimal policies. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 30, 2024
  2. Chechik, M. ; Katoen, JP. ; Leucker, M. (Ed.)
    Efficient verification algorithms for neural networks often depend on various abstract domains such as intervals, zonotopes, and linear star sets. The choice of the abstract domain presents an expressiveness vs. scalability trade-off: simpler domains are less precise but yield faster algorithms. This paper investigates the octatope abstract domain in the context of neural net verification. Octatopes are affine transformations of n-dimensional octagons—sets of unit-two-variable-per-inequality (UTVPI) constraints. Octatopes generalize the idea of zonotopes which can be viewed as an affine transformation of a box. On the other hand, octatopes can be considered as a restriction of linear star set, which are affine transformations of arbitrary H-Polytopes. This distinction places octatopes firmly between zonotopes and star sets in their expressive power, but what about the efficiency of decision procedures? An important analysis problem for neural networks is the exact range computation problem that asks to compute the exact set of possible outputs given a set of possible inputs. For this, three computational procedures are needed: 1) optimization of a linear cost function; 2) affine mapping; and 3) over-approximating the intersection with a half-space. While zonotopes allow an efficient solution for these approaches, star sets solves these procedures via linear programming. We show that these operations are faster for octatopes than the more expressive linear star sets. For octatopes, we reduce these problems to min-cost flow problems, which can be solved in strongly polynomial time using the Out-of-Kilter algorithm. Evaluating exact range computation on several ACAS Xu neural network benchmarks, we find that octatopes show promise as a practical abstract domain for neural network verification. 
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