Reinforcement Learning with General Value Function Approximation: Provably Efficient Approach via Bounded Eluder Dimension

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Ruosong Wang, Russ R. Salakhutdinov, Lin Yang


Value function approximation has demonstrated phenomenal empirical success in reinforcement learning (RL). Nevertheless, despite a handful of recent progress on developing theory for RL with linear function approximation, the understanding of \emph{general} function approximation schemes largely remains missing. In this paper, we establish the first provably efficient RL algorithm with general value function approximation. We show that if the value functions admit an approximation with a function class $\mathcal{F}$, our algorithm achieves a regret bound of $\widetilde{O}(\mathrm{poly}(dH)\sqrt{T})$ where $d$ is a complexity measure of $\mathcal{F}$ that depends on the eluder dimension~[Russo and Van Roy, 2013] and log-covering numbers, $H$ is the planning horizon, and $T$ is the number interactions with the environment. Our theory generalizes the linear MDP assumption to general function classes. Moreover, our algorithm is model-free and provides a framework to justify the effectiveness of algorithms used in practice.