rho-POMDPs have Lipschitz-Continuous epsilon-Optimal Value Functions

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Mathieu Fehr, Olivier Buffet, Vincent Thomas, Jilles Dibangoye


Many state-of-the-art algorithms for solving Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes (POMDPs) rely on turning the problem into a “fully observable” problem—a belief MDP—and exploiting the piece-wise linearity and convexity (PWLC) of the optimal value function in this new state space (the belief simplex ∆). This approach has been extended to solving ρ-POMDPs—i.e., for information-oriented criteria—when the reward ρ is convex in ∆. General ρ-POMDPs can also be turned into “fully observable” problems, but with no means to exploit the PWLC property. In this paper, we focus on POMDPs and ρ-POMDPs with λ ρ -Lipschitz reward function, and demonstrate that, for finite horizons, the optimal value function is Lipschitz-continuous. Then, value function approximators are proposed for both upper- and lower-bounding the optimal value function, which are shown to provide uniformly improvable bounds. This allows proposing two algorithms derived from HSVI which are empirically evaluated on various benchmark problems.