Toward General Function Approximation in Nonstationary Reinforcement Learning.

IEEE J. Sel. Areas Inf. Theory(2024)

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Abstract
Function approximation has experienced significant success in the field of reinforcement learning (RL). Despite a handful of progress on developing theory for nonstationary RL with function approximation under structural assumptions, existing work for nonstationary RL with general function approximation is still limited. In this work, we investigate two different approaches for nonstationary RL with general function approximation: confidence-set based algorithm and UCB-type algorithm. For the first approach, we introduce a new complexity measure called dynamic Bellman Eluder (DBE) for nonstationary MDPs, and then propose a confidence-set based algorithm based on the complexity metric. features the sliding window mechanism and a novel confidence set design for nonstationary MDPs. For the second approach, we propose a UCB-type algorithm following the popular least-square-value-iteration (LSVI) framework, and mitigate the computational efficiency challenge of the confidence-set based approach. features the restart mechanism and a new design of the bonus term to handle nonstationarity. The two proposed algorithms outperform the existing algorithms for nonstationary linear and tabular MDPs in the small variation budget setting. To the best of our knowledge, the two approaches are the first confidence-set based algorithm and UCB-type algorithm in the context of nonstationary MDPs.
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Key words
Nonstationary MDPs,general function approximation,Eluder dimension,LSVI
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