What is Reinforcement Learning?

While machine learning is seen as a monolith, with different subtypes, including machine learning, deep learning, and state-of-the-art deep reinforcement learning technology, this cutting-edge technology is diversified. Artificial intelligence is rising by leaps and bounds, with an approximate market value of 7.35 billion US dollars. McKinsey estimates that AI developer techniques in 19 sectors (including deep learning and reinforcement learning) can produce between $3.5 T and $5.8 T in value annually through nine business functions.

Let’s talk more about Reinforcement Learning. 


Blog Contents

  • What is Reinforcement Learning?
  • Important terms used in the Deep Reinforcement Learning method
  • Algorithms of Reinforcement Learning
  • Reinforcement Learning Characteristics
  • Forms of Learning Reinforcement
  • Applications of Reinforcement Learning
  • Is the future of machine learning reinforcement learning?
  • Conclusion

What is Reinforcement Learning?

Reinforcement Learning is a machine learning method that addresses how software agents should take actions in an environment. Reinforcement Learning is an aspect of deep learning that lets you optimize some portion of the accumulated reward.

This learning method for the neural network allows you to learn how to accomplish a complex goal or optimize a particular dimension over several steps.


Important terms used in the Deep Reinforcement Learning method

In reinforcement AI, here are some essential terms used:

Agent: It is an assumed entity that performs actions to obtain some reward in an environment.

Environment (e): A condition that needs to be faced by an agent.

Reward (R): An immediate return granted to an agent when he or she performs particular acts or activities.

State(s): State(s) refers to the condition that the world is actually in.

Policy (π): It is a policy that the agent applies to determine the next step based on the current state.

Benefit (V): Long-term returns and discounts are required relative to the short-term incentive.

Value Function: Determines the value of the state, which is the total reward number. It is an agent that should be required from that state, to begin with.

Environment model: This mimics the environment’s conduct. This helps you to conclude to be taken and even decide how the future will act.

Model-based approaches: This is an approach that uses model-based methods to solve reinforcement learning problems.

Value of Q or value of an action (Q): Value of Q is very close to value. The only difference between the two is that, as a current operation, it takes an extra parameter.


Algorithms of Reinforcement Learning

To implement a Reinforcement Learning algorithm, there are three ways.

Based on Value:

It would help if you tried maximizing the value function V(s) in a value-based Reinforcement Learning process. In this strategy, under policy π, the agent assumes a long-term return of the current states.


Based on policy:

You are trying to develop such a strategy in a policy-based RL system that the behavior carried out in every state allows you to achieve full reward in the future.


Based on Model:

You need to build a virtual model for each environment in this Reinforcement Learning process. In that particular setting, the agent learns to act.


Reinforcement Learning Characteristics

Here are the significant features of reinforcement learning

  • There is no leader, just an actual number or incentive signal.
  • Sequential decisiveness   
  • In reinforcement problems, time plays a crucial role.
  • Feedback is always delayed, not prompt.
  • The acts of the agent decide the following information it receives.


Forms of Learning Reinforcement

Two kinds of methods of reinforcement learning are:


It is defined as an occurrence that occurs due to particular actions. It increases the intensity and duration of the conduct and positively affects the action taken by the agent.

For a more extended period, this type of reinforcement helps you improve efficiency and sustain improvement. However, too much reinforcement can lead to over-optimization of the state, which can impact the outcome.



Negative reinforcement is described as reinforcing behavior that happens due to an adverse condition that should have been prevented or avoided. This allows you to establish a minimum level of success. The downside of this strategy, however, is that it offers enough to fulfill the minimum actions.

Applications of Reinforcement Learning

Here are the Reinforcement Learning applications:

  • Industrial-automation robotics.
  • Planning Market Strategy
  • Machine learning training and the analysis of data
  • It allows you to build training programs that provide students with personalized instruction and materials as needed.
  • Regulation of airplanes and robot motion control


Is the future of machine learning reinforcement learning?

While reinforcement learning, deep learning, and machine learning are linked together, no one can replace the others in particular. Reinforcement learning is the cherry on a perfect AI cake with machine learning the cake itself and deep learning the topping, jokes Yann LeCun, the renowned French scientist and head of research at Facebook. The cherry would top nothing without the preceding iterations.

In certain instances, it would be necessary to use classical machine learning methods. In business data processing or managing databases, purely algorithmic approaches that do not require machine learning appear useful.

Machine learning often only supports a process carried out in another way, such as finding a way to maximize speed or performance.

Neural networks can be beneficial when a computer has to deal with unstructured and unsorted data or different data kinds. The New York Times has outlined how machine learning enhanced the quality of machine translation.



There is no question that reinforcement learning is a cutting-edge technology that has the potential to change our planet. In any case, however, it does not need to be included. Nevertheless, reinforcement learning tends to be the most likely way to make a computer creative, as innovation is finding new, imaginative ways to execute its tasks. This is already happening: the now-famous AlphaGo of DeepMind played moves that were first considered by artificial intelligence experts to be glitches, but ultimately won a victory over Lee Sedol, one of the best human players.

Reinforcement learning, therefore, has the potential to be a breakthrough technology and the next step in the growth of AI.


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