Congrats Wen! UAI 2015 Google Best Student Paper Award

August 24, 2015

Online Bellman Residual Algorithms with Predictive Error Guarantees 

Abstract: We establish a connection between optimizing the Bellman Residual and worst case long-term predictive error. In the online learning framework, learning takes place over a sequence of trials with the goal of predicting a future discounted sum of rewards. Our analysis shows that, together with a stability assumption, any no-regret online learning algorithm that minimizes Bellman error ensures small prediction error. No statistical assumptions are made on the sequence of observations, which could be non-Markovian or even adversarial. Moreover, the analysis is independent of the particular form of function approximation and the particular (stable) no-regret approach taken. Our approach thus establishes a broad new family of provably sound algorithms for Bellman Residual-based learning and provides a generalization of previous worst-case result for minimizing predictive error. We investigate the potential advantages of some of this family both theoretically and empirically on benchmark problems.

Authors: Wen Sun and J. Andrew (Drew) Bagnell

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