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# Q-learning with Logarithmic Regret

*Proceedings of The 24th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics*, PMLR 130:1576-1584, 2021.

#### Abstract

This paper presents the first non-asymptotic result showing a model-free algorithm can achieve logarithmic cumulative regret for episodic tabular reinforcement learning if there exists a strictly positive sub-optimality gap. We prove that the optimistic Q-learning studied in [Jin et al. 2018] enjoys a ${\mathcal{O}}\!\left(\frac{SA\cdot \mathrm{poly}\left(H\right)}{\Delta_{\min}}\log\left(SAT\right)\right)$ cumulative regret bound where $S$ is the number of states, $A$ is the number of actions, $H$ is the planning horizon, $T$ is the total number of steps, and $\Delta_{\min}$ is the minimum sub-optimality gap of the optimal Q-function. This bound matches the information theoretical lower bound in terms of $S,A,T$ up to a $\log\left(SA\right)$ factor. We further extend our analysis to the discounted setting and obtain a similar logarithmic cumulative regret bound.