Model-based Reinforcement Learning and the Eluder Dimension

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)

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Ian Osband, Benjamin Van Roy


We consider the problem of learning to optimize an unknown Markov decision process (MDP). We show that, if the MDP can be parameterized within some known function class, we can obtain regret bounds that scale with the dimensionality, rather than cardinality, of the system. We characterize this dependence explicitly as $\tilde{O}(\sqrt{d_K d_E T})$ where $T$ is time elapsed, $d_K$ is the Kolmogorov dimension and $d_E$ is the \emph{eluder dimension}. These represent the first unified regret bounds for model-based reinforcement learning and provide state of the art guarantees in several important settings. Moreover, we present a simple and computationally efficient algorithm \emph{posterior sampling for reinforcement learning} (PSRL) that satisfies these bounds.