Speeding-up Action Learning in a Social Robot with Dyna-Q+: A Bioinspired Probabilistic Model Approach Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2021

start page

  • 98381

end page

  • 98397


  • 9

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2169-3536

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2169-3536


  • Robotic systems that are developed for social and dynamic environments require adaptive mechanisms to successfully operate. Consequently, learning from rewards has provided meaningful results in applications involving human-robot interaction. In those cases where the robot's state space and the number of actions is extensive, dimensionality becomes intractable and this drastically slows down the learning process. This effect is specially notorious in one-step temporal difference methods because just one update is performed per robot-environment interaction. In this paper, we prove how the action-based learning of a social robot can be improved by combining classical temporal difference reinforcement learning methods, such as Q-learning or Q( λ), with a probabilistic model of the environment. This architecture, which we have called Dyna, allows the robot to simultaneously act and plan using the experience obtained during real human-robot interactions. Principally, Dyna improves classical algorithms in terms of convergence speed and stability, which strengthens the learning process. Hence, in this work we have embedded a Dyna architecture in our social robot, Mini, to endow it with the ability to autonomously maintain an optimal internal state while living in a dynamic environment.


  • robots; reinforcement learning; task analysis; collision avoidance; navigation; probabilistic logic; stability analysis