Model-free Posterior Sampling via Learning Rate Randomization

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


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.