Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

*Daniil Tiapkin, Denis Belomestny, Daniele Calandriello, Eric Moulines, Remi Munos, Alexey Naumov, Pierre Perrault, Michal Valko, Pierre Ménard*

In this paper, we introduce Randomized Q-learning (RandQL), a novel randomized model-free algorithm for regret minimization in episodic Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). To the best of our knowledge, RandQL is the first tractable model-free posterior sampling-based algorithm. We analyze the performance of RandQL in both tabular and non-tabular metric space settings. In tabular MDPs, RandQL achieves a regret bound of order $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\sqrt{H^{5}SAT})$, where $H$ is the planning horizon, $S$ is the number of states, $A$ is the number of actions, and $T$ is the number of episodes. For a metric state-action space, RandQL enjoys a regret bound of order $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(H^{5/2} T^{(d_z+1)/(d_z+2)})$, where $d_z$ denotes the zooming dimension. Notably, RandQL achieves optimistic exploration without using bonuses, relying instead on a novel idea of learning rate randomization. Our empirical study shows that RandQL outperforms existing approaches on baseline exploration environments.

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