Blackwell Online Learning for Markov Decision Processes

28 Dec 2020  ·  Tao Li, Guanze Peng, Quanyan Zhu ·

This work provides a novel interpretation of Markov Decision Processes (MDP) from the online optimization viewpoint. In such an online optimization context, the policy of the MDP is viewed as the decision variable while the corresponding value function is treated as payoff feedback from the environment. Based on this interpretation, we construct a Blackwell game induced by MDP, which bridges the gap among regret minimization, Blackwell approachability theory, and learning theory for MDP. Specifically, from the approachability theory, we propose 1) Blackwell value iteration for offline planning and 2) Blackwell $Q-$learning for online learning in MDP, both of which are shown to converge to the optimal solution. Our theoretical guarantees are corroborated by numerical experiments.

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