Keywords: Reinforcement Learning Theory, Markov Decision Process Theory
Abstract: Goal-oriented Reinforcement Learning, where the agent needs to reach the goal state while simultaneously minimizing the cost, has received significant attention in real-world applications. Its theoretical formulation, stochastic shortest path (SSP), has been intensively researched in the online setting. Nevertheless, it remains understudied when such an online interaction is prohibited and only historical data is provided. In this paper, we consider the offline stochastic shortest path problem when the state space and the action space are finite. We design the simple value iteration-based algorithms for tackling both offline policy evaluation (OPE) and offline policy learning tasks. Notably, our analysis of these simple algorithms yields strong instance-dependent bounds which can imply worst-case bounds that are near-minimax optimal. We hope our study could help illuminate the fundamental statistical limits of the offline SSP problem and motivate further studies beyond the scope of current consideration.
Supplementary Material: zip