Provably Efficient Reinforcement Learning for Discounted MDPs with Feature Mapping

Dongruo Zhou · Jiafan He · Quanquan Gu

Keywords: [ Reinforcement Learning and Planning ]

Abstract: Modern tasks in reinforcement learning have large state and action spaces. To deal with them efficiently, one often uses predefined feature mapping to represent states and actions in a low dimensional space. In this paper, we study reinforcement learning for discounted Markov Decision Processes (MDPs), where the transition kernel can be parameterized as a linear function of certain feature mapping. We propose a novel algorithm which makes use of the feature mapping and obtains a $\tilde O(d\sqrt{T}/(1-\gamma)^2)$ regret, where $d$ is the dimension of the feature space, $T$ is the time horizon and $\gamma$ is the discount factor of the MDP. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first polynomial regret bound without accessing a generative model or making strong assumptions such as ergodicity of the MDP. By constructing a special class of MDPs, we also show that for any algorithms, the regret is lower bounded by $\Omega(d\sqrt{T}/(1-\gamma)^{1.5})$. Our upper and lower bound results together suggest that the proposed reinforcement learning algorithm is near-optimal up to a $(1-\gamma)^{-0.5}$ factor.

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