IJCAI 2023
Workshop paper

Model-free Causal Reinforcement Learning with Causal Diagrams

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We present a new model-free causal reinforcement learning approach that utilizes the structureof causal diagrams, which could be learned during causal representation learning and causal discovery. Unlike the majority of approaches in causal reinforcement learning that focus on model-based approaches and off-policy evaluations, we explore another direction: online model-free methods. We achieve this by extending a causal sequential decision-making formulation with factored Markov decision process (FMDP) and MDP with unobserved confounders (MDPUC), and by incorporating the concept of action as intervention. The choice of extending MDPUC addresses the issue of bidirectional arcs in learned causal diagrams. The action as intervention idea allows for the incorporation of high-level action models into the action space in an RL environment as a vector of interventions to the causal variables. We also present a value decomposition method and utilize the value decomposition network architecture popular in multi-agent reinforcement learning, showing encouraging preliminary evaluation results.