Reinforcement Learning

By Prof. Balaraman Ravindran   |   IIT Madras
Learners enrolled: 702
Reinforcement learning is a paradigm that aims to model the trial-and-error learning process that is needed in many problem situations where explicit instructive signals are not available. It has roots in operations research, behavioral psychology and AI. The goal of the course is to introduce the basic mathematical foundations of reinforcement learning, as well as highlight some of the recent directions of research.

INTENDED AUDIENCE :  Any interested learner
INDUSTRY SUPPORT  : Data analytics/data science/robotics
Course Status : Upcoming
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 26 Jul 2021
End Date : 15 Oct 2021
Exam Date : 24 Oct 2021
Enrollment Ends : 02 Aug 2021
Category :
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Data Science
  • Robotics
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate

Course layout

Week 1   :   Introduction
Week 2   :  Bandit algorithms – UCB, PAC
Week 3   :   Bandit algorithms –Median Elimination, Policy Gradient
Week 4   :   Full RL & MDPs
Week 5   :   Bellman Optimality
Week 6   :   Dynamic Programming & TD Methods
Week 7   :   Eligibility Traces
Week 8   :   Function Approximation
Week 9   :   Least Squares Methods
Week 10 :   Fitted Q, DQN & Policy Gradient for Full RL
Week 11 :   Hierarchical RL
Week 12 :   POMDPs

Books and references

R. S. Sutton and A. G. Barto. Reinforcement Learning - An Introduction. MIT Press. 1998.

Instructor bio

Prof. Balaraman Ravindran

IIT Madras
Prof. Balaraman Ravindran is currently an Professor in Computer Science at IIT Madras and Mindtree Faculty Fellow . He has nearly two decades of research experience in machine learning and specifically reinforcement learning. Currently his research interests are centered on learning from and through interactions and span the areas of data mining, social network analysis, and reinforcement learning.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 24 October 2021 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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