Going Beyond Linear RL: Sample Efficient Neural Function Approximation

Baihe Huang, Kaixuan Huang, Sham M. Kakade, Jason D. Lee, Qi Lei, Runzhe Wang, Jiaqi Yang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Deep Reinforcement Learning (RL) powered by neural net approximation of the Q function has had enormous empirical success. While the theory of RL has traditionally focused on linear function approximation (or eluder dimension) approaches, little is known about nonlinear RL with neural net approximations of the Q functions. This is the focus of this work, where we study function approximation with two-layer neural networks (considering both ReLU and polynomial activation functions). Our first result is a computationally and statistically efficient algorithm in the generative model setting under completeness for two-layer neural networks. Our second result considers this setting but under only realizability of the neural net function class. Here, assuming deterministic dynamics, the sample complexity scales linearly in the algebraic dimension. In all cases, our results significantly improve upon what can be attained with linear (or eluder dimension) methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 - 35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021
EditorsMarc'Aurelio Ranzato, Alina Beygelzimer, Yann Dauphin, Percy S. Liang, Jenn Wortman Vaughan
PublisherNeural information processing systems foundation
Pages8968-8983
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781713845393
StatePublished - 2021
Event35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2021Dec 14 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
Volume11
ISSN (Print)1049-5258

Conference

Conference35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period12/6/2112/14/21

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing

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