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Ray: A Cluster Computing Engine for Reinforcement Learning Applications

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As machine learning matures, the standard supervised learning setup is no longer sufficient. Instead of making and serving a single prediction as a function of a data point, machine learning applications increasingly must operate in dynamic environments, react to changes in the environment, and take sequences of actions to accomplish a goal. These modern applications are better framed within the context of reinforcement learning (RL), which deals with learning to operate within an environment. RL-based applications have already led to remarkable results, such as Google’s AlphaGo beating the Go world champion, and are finding their way into self-driving cars, UAVs, and surgical robotics.

These applications have very demanding computational requirements–at the high end, they may need to execute millions of tasks per second with millisecond level latencies, and support heterogeneous and dynamic computation graphs. In this talk, we present Ray, a new cluster computing framework that meets these requirements, give some application examples, and discuss how it can be integrated with Apache Spark.