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# Nearly Minimax Optimal Reinforcement Learning for Linear Markov Decision Processes

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:12790-12822, 2023.

#### Abstract

We study reinforcement learning (RL) with linear function approximation. For episodic time-inhomogeneous linear Markov decision processes (linear MDPs) whose transition probability can be parameterized as a linear function of a given feature mapping, we propose the first computationally efficient algorithm that achieves the nearly minimax optimal regret $\tilde O(d\sqrt{H^3K})$, where $d$ is the dimension of the feature mapping, $H$ is the planning horizon, and $K$ is the number of episodes. Our algorithm is based on a weighted linear regression scheme with a carefully designed weight, which depends on a new variance estimator that (1) directly estimates the variance of the

*optimal*value function, (2) monotonically decreases with respect to the number of episodes to ensure a better estimation accuracy, and (3) uses a rare-switching policy to update the value function estimator to control the complexity of the estimated value function class. Our work provides a complete answer to optimal RL with linear MDPs, and the developed algorithm and theoretical tools may be of independent interest.