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On Convergence of Average-Reward Off-Policy Control Algorithms in Weakly-Communicating MDPs
Yi Wan · Richard Sutton
Event URL: https://openreview.net/forum?id=fleuqmDmF_G »

We show two average-reward off-policy control algorithms, Differential Q Learning (Wan, Naik, \& Sutton 2021a) and RVI Q Learning (Abounadi Bertsekas \& Borkar 2001), converge in weakly-communicating MDPs. Weakly-communicating MDPs are the most general class of MDPs that a learning algorithm with a single stream of experience can guarantee obtaining a policy achieving optimal reward rate. The original convergence proofs of the two algorithms require that all optimal policies induce unichains, which is not necessarily true for weakly-communicating MDPs. To the best of our knowledge, our results are the first showing average-reward off-policy control algorithms converge in weakly-communicating MDPs. As a direct extension, we show that average-reward options algorithms introduced by (Wan, Naik, \& Sutton 2021b) converge if the Semi-MDP induced by options is weakly-communicating.

Author Information

Yi Wan (University of Alberta)
Richard Sutton (DeepMind, U Alberta)

Richard S. Sutton is a professor and iCORE chair in the department of computing science at the University of Alberta. He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and co-author of the textbook "Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction" from MIT Press. Before joining the University of Alberta in 2003, he worked in industry at AT&T and GTE Labs, and in academia at the University of Massachusetts. He received a PhD in computer science from the University of Massachusetts in 1984 and a BA in psychology from Stanford University in 1978. Rich's research interests center on the learning problems facing a decision-maker interacting with its environment, which he sees as central to artificial intelligence. He is also interested in animal learning psychology, in connectionist networks, and generally in systems that continually improve their representations and models of the world.

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