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Temporal consistency in learning action values for volleyball

Thesis type
(Project) M.Sc.
Date created
Learning actions values is a key idea in sports analytics with applications such as player ranking, tactical insight and outcome prediction. We compare two fundamentally different approaches for learning action values on a novel play-by-play volleyball dataset. In the first approach, we employ regression models that implicitly assume statistical independence of data samples. In the second approach, we use a deep reinforcement learning model, explicitly enforcing the sequential nature of the data in the learning process. We find that temporally independent regression can in certain settings outperform the reinforcement learning approach in terms of predictive accuracy, but the latter performs much better when temporal consistency is required. We also consider a mimic regression tree as a way to add interpretability to the deep reinforcement learning approach. Finally, we examine the computed action values and perform a number of example analyses to verify their validity.
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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Schulte, Oliver
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