He, Jiafan, Zhou, Dongruo, Gu, Quanquan

We study the reinforcement learning for finite-horizon episodic Markov decision processes with adversarial reward and full information feedback, where the unknown transition probability function is a linear function of a given feature mapping. We propose an optimistic policy optimization algorithm with Bernstein bonus and show that it can achieve $\tilde{O}(dH\sqrt{T})$ regret, where $H$ is the length of the episode, $T$ is the number of interaction with the MDP and $d$ is the dimension of the feature mapping. Furthermore, we also prove a matching lower bound of $\tilde{\Omega}(dH\sqrt{T})$ up to logarithmic factors. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first computationally efficient, nearly minimax optimal algorithm for adversarial Markov decision processes with linear function approximation.

Zhou, Dongruo, Gu, Quanquan, Szepesvari, Csaba

We study reinforcement learning (RL) with linear function approximation where the underlying transition probability kernel of the Markov decision process (MDP) is a linear mixture model (Jia et al., 2020; Ayoub et al., 2020; Zhou et al., 2020) and the learning agent has access to either an integration or a sampling oracle of the individual basis kernels. We propose a new Bernstein-type concentration inequality for self-normalized martingales for linear bandit problems with bounded noise. Based on the new inequality, we propose a new, computationally efficient algorithm with linear function approximation named $\text{UCRL-VTR}^{+}$ for the aforementioned linear mixture MDPs in the episodic undiscounted setting. We show that $\text{UCRL-VTR}^{+}$ attains an $\tilde O(dH\sqrt{T})$ regret where $d$ is the dimension of feature mapping, $H$ is the length of the episode and $T$ is the number of interactions with the MDP. We also prove a matching lower bound $\Omega(dH\sqrt{T})$ for this setting, which shows that $\text{UCRL-VTR}^{+}$ is minimax optimal up to logarithmic factors. In addition, we propose the $\text{UCLK}^{+}$ algorithm for the same family of MDPs under discounting and show that it attains an $\tilde O(d\sqrt{T}/(1-\gamma)^{1.5})$ regret, where $\gamma\in [0,1)$ is the discount factor. Our upper bound matches the lower bound $\Omega(d\sqrt{T}/(1-\gamma)^{1.5})$ proved in Zhou et al. (2020) up to logarithmic factors, suggesting that $\text{UCLK}^{+}$ is nearly minimax optimal. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first computationally efficient, nearly minimax optimal algorithms for RL with linear function approximation.

Liao, Chonghua, He, Jiafan, Gu, Quanquan

Reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms can be used to provide personalized services, which rely on users' private and sensitive data. To protect the users' privacy, privacy-preserving RL algorithms are in demand. In this paper, we study RL with linear function approximation and local differential privacy (LDP) guarantees. We propose a novel $(\varepsilon, \delta)$-LDP algorithm for learning a class of Markov decision processes (MDPs) dubbed linear mixture MDPs, and obtains an $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}( d^{5/4}H^{7/4}T^{3/4}\left(\log(1/\delta)\right)^{1/4}\sqrt{1/\varepsilon})$ regret, where $d$ is the dimension of feature mapping, $H$ is the length of the planning horizon, and $T$ is the number of interactions with the environment. We also prove a lower bound $\Omega(dH\sqrt{T}/\left(e^{\varepsilon}(e^{\varepsilon}-1)\right))$ for learning linear mixture MDPs under $\varepsilon$-LDP constraint. Experiments on synthetic datasets verify the effectiveness of our algorithm. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first provable privacy-preserving RL algorithm with linear function approximation.

Jin, Chi, Yang, Zhuoran, Wang, Zhaoran, Jordan, Michael I.

Modern Reinforcement Learning (RL) is commonly applied to practical problems with an enormous number of states, where function approximation must be deployed to approximate either the value function or the policy. The introduction of function approximation raises a fundamental set of challenges involving computational and statistical efficiency, especially given the need to manage the exploration/exploitation tradeoff. As a result, a core RL question remains open: how can we design provably efficient RL algorithms that incorporate function approximation? This question persists even in a basic setting with linear dynamics and linear rewards, for which only linear function approximation is needed. This paper presents the first provable RL algorithm with both polynomial runtime and polynomial sample complexity in this linear setting, without requiring a "simulator" or additional assumptions. Concretely, we prove that an optimistic modification of Least-Squares Value Iteration (LSVI)---a classical algorithm frequently studied in the linear setting---achieves $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(\sqrt{d^3H^3T})$ regret, where $d$ is the ambient dimension of feature space, $H$ is the length of each episode, and $T$ is the total number of steps. Importantly, such regret is independent of the number of states and actions.

Zhong, Han, Yang, Zhuoran, Szepesvári, Zhaoran Wang Csaba

Most of these empirical successes are driven by deep policy optimization methods such as trust region policy optimization (TRPO) (Schulman et al., 2015) and proximal policy optimization (PPO) (Schulman et al., 2017), whose performance has been extensively studied recently (Agarwal et al., 2019; Liu et al., 2019; Shani et al., 2020; Mei et al., 2020; Cen et al., 2020). While classical RL assumes that an agent interacts with a time-invariant (stationary) environment, when deploying RL to real-world applications, both the reward function and Markov transition kernel can be time-varying. For example, in autonomous driving (Sallab et al., 2017), the vehicle needs to handle varying conditions of weather and traffic. When the environment changes with time, the agent must quickly adapt its policy to maximize the expected total rewards in the new environment. Meanwhile, another example of such a non-stationary scenario is when the environment is subject to adversarial manipulations, which is the case of adversarial attacks (Pinto et al., 2017; Huang et al., 2017; Pattanaik et al., 2017). In this situation, it is desired that the RL agent is robust against the malicious adversary.