Fast Reinforcement Learning for Energy-Efficient Wireless Communications

29 Sep 2010  ·  Nicholas Mastronarde, Mihaela van der Schaar ·

We consider the problem of energy-efficient point-to-point transmission of delay-sensitive data (e.g. multimedia data) over a fading channel. Existing research on this topic utilizes either physical-layer centric solutions, namely power-control and adaptive modulation and coding (AMC), or system-level solutions based on dynamic power management (DPM); however, there is currently no rigorous and unified framework for simultaneously utilizing both physical-layer centric and system-level techniques to achieve the minimum possible energy consumption, under delay constraints, in the presence of stochastic and a priori unknown traffic and channel conditions. In this report, we propose such a framework. We formulate the stochastic optimization problem as a Markov decision process (MDP) and solve it online using reinforcement learning. The advantages of the proposed online method are that (i) it does not require a priori knowledge of the traffic arrival and channel statistics to determine the jointly optimal power-control, AMC, and DPM policies; (ii) it exploits partial information about the system so that less information needs to be learned than when using conventional reinforcement learning algorithms; and (iii) it obviates the need for action exploration, which severely limits the adaptation speed and run-time performance of conventional reinforcement learning algorithms. Our results show that the proposed learning algorithms can converge up to two orders of magnitude faster than a state-of-the-art learning algorithm for physical layer power-control and up to three orders of magnitude faster than conventional reinforcement learning algorithms.

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