Online Learning in Markov Decision Processes with Changing Cost Sequences


Travis Dick, Andras Gyorgy, Csaba Szepesvari ;
Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 32(1):512-520, 2014.


In this paper we consider online learning in finite Markov decision processes (MDPs) with changing cost sequences under full and bandit-information. We propose to view this problem as an instance of online linear optimization. We propose two methods for this problem: MD^2 (mirror descent with approximate projections) and the continuous exponential weights algorithm with Dikin walks. We provide a rigorous complexity analysis of these techniques, while providing near-optimal regret-bounds (in particular, we take into account the computational costs of performing approximate projections in MD^2). In the case of full-information feedback, our results complement existing ones. In the case of bandit-information feedback we consider the online stochastic shortest path problem, a special case of the above MDP problems, and manage to improve the existing results by removing the previous restrictive assumption that the state-visitation probabilities are uniformly bounded away from zero under all policies.

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