Recording date: 17/10/2023
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Sample complexity of Q-learning: from single-agent to federated learning

Q-learning, which seeks to learn the optimal Q-function of a Markov decision process (MDP) in a model-free fashion, lies at the heart of reinforcement learning practices. However, theoretical understandings on its non-asymptotic sample complexity remain unsatisfactory, despite significant recent efforts. In this talk, we first show a tight sample complexity bound of Q-learning in the single-agent setting, together with a matching lower bound to establish its minimax sub-optimality. We then show how federated versions of Q-learning allow collaborative learning using data collected by multiple agents without central sharing, where an importance averaging scheme is introduced to unveil the blessing of heterogeneity.

Yuejie Chi

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