Accelerating Value Iteration with Anchoring

Published: 21 Sept 2023, Last Modified: 02 Nov 2023NeurIPS 2023 posterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Keywords: Value Iteration, Reinforcement Learning, Reinforcement Learning Theory, Dynamic Programming, Acceleration, Anchoring mechanism
TL;DR: We proposed anchored value iteration and achieve an accelerated rate for the Bellman consistency and optimality operators.
Abstract: Value Iteration (VI) is foundational to the theory and practice of modern reinforcement learning, and it is known to converge at a $\mathcal{O}(\gamma^k)$-rate. Surprisingly, however, the optimal rate for the VI setup was not known, and finding a general acceleration mechanism has been an open problem. In this paper, we present the first accelerated VI for both the Bellman consistency and optimality operators. Our method, called Anc-VI, is based on an \emph{anchoring} mechanism (distinct from Nesterov's acceleration), and it reduces the Bellman error faster than standard VI. In particular, Anc-VI exhibits a $\mathcal{O}(1/k)$-rate for $\gamma\approx 1$ or even $\gamma=1$, while standard VI has rate $\mathcal{O}(1)$ for $\gamma\ge 1-1/k$, where $k$ is the iteration count. We also provide a complexity lower bound matching the upper bound up to a constant factor of $4$, thereby establishing optimality of the accelerated rate of Anc-VI. Finally, we show that the anchoring mechanism provides the same benefit in the approximate VI and Gauss--Seidel VI setups as well.
Supplementary Material: pdf
Submission Number: 2388