Presented By O’Reilly and Intel Nervana
Put AI to work
September 17-18, 2017: Training
September 18-20, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

Building reinforcement learning applications with Ray

Ion Stoica (University of California, Berkeley), Robert Nishihara (University of California, Berkeley), Philipp Moritz (University of California, Berkeley)
1:30pm–5:00pm Monday, September 18, 2017
Implementing AI
Location: Imperial A
Secondary topics:  Algorithms, Open source, Transportation and autonomous vehicles
Average rating: ****.
(4.57, 7 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

  • Familiarity with Python programming, basic machine learning concepts, and reinforcement learning

Materials or downloads needed in advance

  • A laptop

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to develop simple RL applications at scale with Ray and manage Ray on clusters


Reinforcement learning (RL) is emerging as a promising approach to intelligently interact with continuously changing physical or virtual environments. Advances in RL research have already shown remarkable results, such as Google’s AlphaGo beating the Go world champion, and are finding their way into self-driving cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and surgical robotics. Not surprisingly, many see RL growing rapidly into a potentially dominant area in ML over the next decade. However, the applications of RL pose a new set of requirements, the combination of which creates a challenge for existing distributed execution frameworks: computation with millisecond latency at high throughput, adaptive construction of arbitrary task graphs, and execution of heterogeneous kernels over diverse sets of resources.

Ion Stoica, Robert Nishihara, and Philipp Moritz lead a deep dive into Ray, a new distributed execution framework for reinforcement learning applications developed by machine learning and systems researchers at UC Berkeley’s RISELab, walking you through Ray’s API and system architecture and sharing application examples, including several state-of-the art RL algorithms.

Photo of Ion Stoica

Ion Stoica

University of California, Berkeley

Ion Stoica is a professor in the electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS) department at the University of California, Berkeley, where he does research on cloud computing and networked computer systems. Previously, he worked on dynamic packet state, chord DHT, internet indirection infrastructure (i3), declarative networks, and large-scale systems, including Apache Spark, Apache Mesos, and Alluxio. He’s the cofounder of Databricks—a startup to commercialize Apache Spark—and Conviva—a startup to commercialize technologies for large-scale video distribution. Ion is an ACM fellow and has received numerous awards, including inclusion in the SIGOPS Hall of Fame (2015), the SIGCOMM Test of Time Award (2011), and the ACM doctoral dissertation award (2001).

Photo of Robert Nishihara

Robert Nishihara

University of California, Berkeley

Robert Nishihara is a fourth-year PhD student working in the University of California, Berkeley, RISELab with Michael Jordan. He works on machine learning, optimization, and artificial intelligence.

Photo of Philipp Moritz

Philipp Moritz

University of California, Berkeley

Philipp Moritz is a PhD candidate in the electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS) department at the University of California, Berkeley, with broad interests in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and distributed systems. He’s a member of the Statistical AI Lab and the RISELab.

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09/29/2017 2:56pm PDT


Picture of Robert Nishihara
Robert Nishihara | GRADUATE STUDENT
09/29/2017 2:42pm PDT

You can find most of the material at

09/29/2017 2:39pm PDT

Can I download the training material from this class? The notebooks.