Logarithmic regret for episodic continuous-time linear-quadratic reinforcement learning over a finite-time horizon
Publication Date: April 12, 2023
M. Basei, X. Guo, A. Hu, Y. Zhang, “Logarithmic regret for episodic continuous-time linear-quadratic reinforcement learning over a finite-time horizon”. Journal of Machine Learning Research, 23 (178), 1-34
Abstract. We study finite-time horizon continuous-time linear-quadratic reinforcement learning problems in an episodic setting, where both the state and control coefficients are unknown to the controller. We first propose a least-squares algorithm based on continuous-time observations and controls, and establish a logarithmic regret bound of magnitude O((ln M)(ln ln M)), with M being the number of learning episodes. The analysis consists of two components: perturbation analysis, which exploits the regularity and robustness of the associated Riccati differential equation; and parameter estimation error, which relies on subexponential properties of continuous-time least-squares estimators. We further propose a practically implementable least-squares algorithm based on discrete-time observations and piecewise constant controls, which achieves similar logarithmic regret with an additional term depending explicitly on the time stepsizes used in the algorithm.