Reinforcement Learning for Non-Stationary Markov Decision Processes: The Blessing of (More) Optimism

Wang Chi Cheung, David Simchi-Levi, Ruihao Zhu
Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 119:1843-1854, 2020.

Abstract

We consider un-discounted reinforcement learning (RL) in Markov decision processes (MDPs) under drifting non-stationarity, \ie, both the reward and state transition distributions are allowed to evolve over time, as long as their respective total variations, quantified by suitable metrics, do not exceed certain \emph{variation budgets}. We first develop the Sliding Window Upper-Confidence bound for Reinforcement Learning with Confidence Widening (\texttt{SWUCRL2-CW}) algorithm, and establish its dynamic regret bound when the variation budgets are known. In addition, we propose the Bandit-over-Reinforcement Learning (\texttt{BORL}) algorithm to adaptively tune the \sw to achieve the same dynamic regret bound, but in a \emph{parameter-free} manner, \ie, without knowing the variation budgets. Notably, learning drifting MDPs via conventional optimistic exploration presents a unique challenge absent in existing (non-stationary) bandit learning settings. We overcome the challenge by a novel confidence widening technique that incorporates additional optimism.

Cite this Paper


BibTeX
@InProceedings{pmlr-v119-cheung20a, title = {Reinforcement Learning for Non-Stationary {M}arkov Decision Processes: The Blessing of ({M}ore) Optimism}, author = {Cheung, Wang Chi and Simchi-Levi, David and Zhu, Ruihao}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning}, pages = {1843--1854}, year = {2020}, editor = {III, Hal Daumé and Singh, Aarti}, volume = {119}, series = {Proceedings of Machine Learning Research}, month = {13--18 Jul}, publisher = {PMLR}, pdf = {http://proceedings.mlr.press/v119/cheung20a/cheung20a.pdf}, url = {http://proceedings.mlr.press/v119/cheung20a.html}, abstract = {We consider un-discounted reinforcement learning (RL) in Markov decision processes (MDPs) under drifting non-stationarity, \ie, both the reward and state transition distributions are allowed to evolve over time, as long as their respective total variations, quantified by suitable metrics, do not exceed certain \emph{variation budgets}. We first develop the Sliding Window Upper-Confidence bound for Reinforcement Learning with Confidence Widening (\texttt{SWUCRL2-CW}) algorithm, and establish its dynamic regret bound when the variation budgets are known. In addition, we propose the Bandit-over-Reinforcement Learning (\texttt{BORL}) algorithm to adaptively tune the \sw to achieve the same dynamic regret bound, but in a \emph{parameter-free} manner, \ie, without knowing the variation budgets. Notably, learning drifting MDPs via conventional optimistic exploration presents a unique challenge absent in existing (non-stationary) bandit learning settings. We overcome the challenge by a novel confidence widening technique that incorporates additional optimism.} }
Endnote
%0 Conference Paper %T Reinforcement Learning for Non-Stationary Markov Decision Processes: The Blessing of (More) Optimism %A Wang Chi Cheung %A David Simchi-Levi %A Ruihao Zhu %B Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning %C Proceedings of Machine Learning Research %D 2020 %E Hal Daumé III %E Aarti Singh %F pmlr-v119-cheung20a %I PMLR %P 1843--1854 %U http://proceedings.mlr.press/v119/cheung20a.html %V 119 %X We consider un-discounted reinforcement learning (RL) in Markov decision processes (MDPs) under drifting non-stationarity, \ie, both the reward and state transition distributions are allowed to evolve over time, as long as their respective total variations, quantified by suitable metrics, do not exceed certain \emph{variation budgets}. We first develop the Sliding Window Upper-Confidence bound for Reinforcement Learning with Confidence Widening (\texttt{SWUCRL2-CW}) algorithm, and establish its dynamic regret bound when the variation budgets are known. In addition, we propose the Bandit-over-Reinforcement Learning (\texttt{BORL}) algorithm to adaptively tune the \sw to achieve the same dynamic regret bound, but in a \emph{parameter-free} manner, \ie, without knowing the variation budgets. Notably, learning drifting MDPs via conventional optimistic exploration presents a unique challenge absent in existing (non-stationary) bandit learning settings. We overcome the challenge by a novel confidence widening technique that incorporates additional optimism.
APA
Cheung, W.C., Simchi-Levi, D. & Zhu, R.. (2020). Reinforcement Learning for Non-Stationary Markov Decision Processes: The Blessing of (More) Optimism. Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning, in Proceedings of Machine Learning Research 119:1843-1854 Available from http://proceedings.mlr.press/v119/cheung20a.html.

Related Material