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# Prior-dependent analysis of posterior sampling reinforcement learning with function approximation

*Proceedings of The 27th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics*, PMLR 238:559-567, 2024.

#### Abstract

This work advances randomized exploration in reinforcement learning (RL) with function approximation modeled by linear mixture MDPs. We establish the first prior-dependent Bayesian regret bound for RL with function approximation; and refine the Bayesian regret analysis for posterior sampling reinforcement learning (PSRL), presenting an upper bound of $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(d\sqrt{H^3 T \log T})$, where $d$ represents the dimensionality of the transition kernel, $H$ the planning horizon, and $T$ the total number of interactions. This signifies a methodological enhancement by optimizing the $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{\log T})$ factor over the previous benchmark (Osband and Van Roy, 2014) specified to linear mixture MDPs. Our approach, leveraging a value-targeted model learning perspective, introduces a decoupling argument and a variance reduction technique, moving beyond traditional analyses reliant on confidence sets and concentration inequalities to formalize Bayesian regret bounds more effectively.