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In reinforcement learning an agent uses online feedback from the environment and prior knowledge in order to adaptively select an effective policy. Model free approaches address this task by directly mapping external and internal states to actions, while model based methods attempt to construct a model of the environment, followed by a selection of optimal actions based on that model. Given the complementary advantages of both approaches, we suggest a novel algorithm which combines them into a single algorithm, which switches between a model based and a model free mode, depending on the current environmental state and on the status of the agent's knowledge. We prove that such an approach leads to improved performance whenever environmental knowledge is available, without compromising performance when such knowledge is absent. Numerical simulations demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach and suggest its efficacy in boosting policy gradient learning.
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