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Kernel-Based Reinforcement Learning: A Finite-Time Analysis
Omar Darwiche Domingues · Pierre Menard · Matteo Pirotta · Emilie Kaufmann · Michal Valko

Wed Jul 21 09:00 AM -- 11:00 AM (PDT) @
We consider the exploration-exploitation dilemma in finite-horizon reinforcement learning problems whose state-action space is endowed with a metric. We introduce Kernel-UCBVI, a model-based optimistic algorithm that leverages the smoothness of the MDP and a non-parametric kernel estimator of the rewards and transitions to efficiently balance exploration and exploitation. For problems with $K$ episodes and horizon $H$, we provide a regret bound of $\widetilde{O}\left( H^3 K^{\frac{2d}{2d+1}}\right)$, where $d$ is the covering dimension of the joint state-action space. This is the first regret bound for kernel-based RL using smoothing kernels, which requires very weak assumptions on the MDP and applies to a wide range of tasks. We empirically validate our approach in continuous MDPs with sparse rewards.

Author Information

Omar Darwiche Domingues (Inria)
Pierre Menard (Inria)
Matteo Pirotta (Facebook AI Research)
Emilie Kaufmann (CNRS, Univ. Lille, Inria)
Michal Valko (DeepMind / Inria / ENS Paris-Saclay)
Michal Valko

Michal is a machine learning scientist in DeepMind Paris, tenured researcher at Inria, and the lecturer of the master course Graphs in Machine Learning at l'ENS Paris-Saclay. Michal is primarily interested in designing algorithms that would require as little human supervision as possible. This means 1) reducing the “intelligence” that humans need to input into the system and 2) minimizing the data that humans need to spend inspecting, classifying, or “tuning” the algorithms. That is why he is working on methods and settings that are able to deal with minimal feedback, such as deep reinforcement learning, bandit algorithms, or self-supervised learning. Michal is actively working on represenation learning and building worlds models. He is also working on deep (reinforcement) learning algorithm that have some theoretical underpinning. He has also worked on sequential algorithms with structured decisions where exploiting the structure leads to provably faster learning. He received his Ph.D. in 2011 from the University of Pittsburgh under the supervision of Miloš Hauskrecht and after was a postdoc of Rémi Munos before taking a permanent position at Inria in 2012.

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