# Solution to Exercise 2.2¶

## The Bug in the Code¶

The only difference between the correct actor-critic code,

```
"""
Actor-Critic
"""
def mlp_actor_critic(x, a, hidden_sizes=(400,300), activation=tf.nn.relu,
output_activation=tf.tanh, action_space=None):
act_dim = a.shape.as_list()[-1]
act_limit = action_space.high[0]
with tf.variable_scope('pi'):
pi = act_limit * mlp(x, list(hidden_sizes)+[act_dim], activation, output_activation)
with tf.variable_scope('q'):
q = tf.squeeze(mlp(tf.concat([x,a], axis=-1), list(hidden_sizes)+[1], activation, None), axis=1)
with tf.variable_scope('q', reuse=True):
q_pi = tf.squeeze(mlp(tf.concat([x,pi], axis=-1), list(hidden_sizes)+[1], activation, None), axis=1)
return pi, q, q_pi
```

and the bugged actor-critic code,

```
"""
Bugged Actor-Critic
"""
def bugged_mlp_actor_critic(x, a, hidden_sizes=(400,300), activation=tf.nn.relu,
output_activation=tf.tanh, action_space=None):
act_dim = a.shape.as_list()[-1]
act_limit = action_space.high[0]
with tf.variable_scope('pi'):
pi = act_limit * mlp(x, list(hidden_sizes)+[act_dim], activation, output_activation)
with tf.variable_scope('q'):
q = mlp(tf.concat([x,a], axis=-1), list(hidden_sizes)+[1], activation, None)
with tf.variable_scope('q', reuse=True):
q_pi = mlp(tf.concat([x,pi], axis=-1), list(hidden_sizes)+[1], activation, None)
return pi, q, q_pi
```

is the tensor shape for the Q-functions. The correct version squeezes ouputs so that they have shape `[batch size]`

, whereas the bugged version doesn’t, resulting in Q-functions with shape `[batch size, 1]`

.

## How it Gums Up the Works¶

Consider the excerpt from the part in the code that builds the DDPG computation graph:

```
# Bellman backup for Q function
backup = tf.stop_gradient(r_ph + gamma*(1-d_ph)*q_pi_targ)
# DDPG losses
pi_loss = -tf.reduce_mean(q_pi)
q_loss = tf.reduce_mean((q-backup)**2)
```

This is where the tensor shape issue comes into play. It’s important to know that `r_ph`

and `d_ph`

have shape `[batch size]`

.

The line that produces the Bellman backup was written with the assumption that it would add together tensors with the same shape. However, this line can **also** add together tensors with different shapes, as long as they’re broadcast-compatible.

Tensors with shapes `[batch size]`

and `[batch size, 1]`

are broadcast compatible, but the behavior is not actually what you might expect! Check out this example:

```
>>> import tensorflow as tf
>>> import numpy as np
>>> x = tf.constant(np.arange(5))
>>> y = tf.constant(np.arange(5).reshape(-1,1))
>>> z1 = x * y
>>> z2 = x + y
>>> z3 = x + z1
>>> x.shape
TensorShape([Dimension(5)])
>>> y.shape
TensorShape([Dimension(5), Dimension(1)])
>>> z1.shape
TensorShape([Dimension(5), Dimension(5)])
>>> z2.shape
TensorShape([Dimension(5), Dimension(5)])
>>> sess = tf.InteractiveSession()
>>> sess.run(z1)
array([[ 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[ 0, 1, 2, 3, 4],
[ 0, 2, 4, 6, 8],
[ 0, 3, 6, 9, 12],
[ 0, 4, 8, 12, 16]])
>>> sess.run(z2)
array([[0, 1, 2, 3, 4],
[1, 2, 3, 4, 5],
[2, 3, 4, 5, 6],
[3, 4, 5, 6, 7],
[4, 5, 6, 7, 8]])
>>> sess.run(z3)
array([[ 0, 1, 2, 3, 4],
[ 0, 2, 4, 6, 8],
[ 0, 3, 6, 9, 12],
[ 0, 4, 8, 12, 16],
[ 0, 5, 10, 15, 20]])
```

Adding or multiplying a shape `[5]`

tensor by a shape `[5,1]`

tensor returns a shape `[5,5]`

tensor!

When you don’t squeeze the Q-functions, `q_pi_targ`

has shape `[batch size, 1]`

, and the backup—and in turn, the whole Q-loss—gets totally messed up.

Broadcast error 1: `(1 - d_ph) * q_pi_targ`

becomes a `[batch size, batch size]`

tensor containing the outer product of the mask with the target network Q-values.

Broadcast error 2: `r_ph`

then gets treated as a row vector and added to each row of `(1 - d_ph) * q_pi_targ`

separately.

Broadcast error 3: `q_loss`

depends on `q - backup`

, which involves another bad broadcast between `q`

(shape `[batch size, 1]`

) and `backup`

(shape `[batch size, batch size]`

).

To put it mathematically: let , , , denote vectors containing the q-values, target q-values, rewards, and dones for a given batch, where there are entries in the batch. The correct backup is

and the correct loss function is

But with these errors, what gets computed is a backup *matrix*,

and a messed up loss function

If you leave this to run in HalfCheetah long enough, you’ll actually see some non-trivial learning process, because weird details specific to this environment partly cancel out the errors. But almost everywhere else, it fails completely.