What Is Reinforcement Learning?
As we describe in our book, reinforcement learning (RL) is a sub-discipline of machine learning (ML) that specializes in teaching machines to execute multi-step, strategic decisions.
Traditional ML automates single decisions, but they don’t leverage any context, nor do they operate over sequences. For example, a traditional recommendations algorithm recommends a single set of products and the algorithms are optimized to improve that single recommendation. But this is the wrong objective. You don’t want to optimize for single placements. You should be optimizing for increased engagement or higher profitability per customer, or whatever your business prioritizes.
RL allows you to train your models to do exactly that; optimize decisions over a period of time towards your organization’s unique goals.