Error Propagation for Approximate Policy and Value Iteration

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

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Amir-massoud Farahmand, Csaba Szepesvári, Rémi Munos


We address the question of how the approximation error/Bellman residual at each iteration of the Approximate Policy/Value Iteration algorithms influences the quality of the resulted policy. We quantify the performance loss as the Lp norm of the approximation error/Bellman residual at each iteration. Moreover, we show that the performance loss depends on the expectation of the squared Radon-Nikodym derivative of a certain distribution rather than its supremum -- as opposed to what has been suggested by the previous results. Also our results indicate that the contribution of the approximation/Bellman error to the performance loss is more prominent in the later iterations of API/AVI, and the effect of an error term in the earlier iterations decays exponentially fast.