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# Switching the Loss Reduces the Cost in Batch Reinforcement Learning

*Proceedings of the 41st International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 235:2135-2158, 2024.

#### Abstract

We propose training fitted Q-iteration with log-loss (FQI-LOG) for batch reinforcement learning (RL). We show that the number of samples needed to learn a near-optimal policy with FQI-LOG scales with the accumulated cost of the optimal policy, which is zero in problems where acting optimally achieves the goal and incurs no cost. In doing so, we provide a general framework for proving small-cost bounds, i.e. bounds that scale with the optimal achievable cost, in batch RL. Moreover, we empirically verify that FQI-LOG uses fewer samples than FQI trained with squared loss on problems where the optimal policy reliably achieves the goal.