Discrete Event Dynamic Systems

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 477–509 | Cite as

Multiscale Q-learning with linear function approximation

  • Shalabh Bhatnagar
  • K. Lakshmanan


We present in this article a two-timescale variant of Q-learning with linear function approximation. Both Q-values and policies are assumed to be parameterized with the policy parameter updated on a faster timescale as compared to the Q-value parameter. This timescale separation is seen to result in significantly improved numerical performance of the proposed algorithm over Q-learning. We show that the proposed algorithm converges almost surely to a closed connected internally chain transitive invariant set of an associated differential inclusion.


Q-learning with linear function approximation Reinforcement learning Stochastic approximation Ordinary differential equation Differential inclusion Multi-stage Stochastic shortest path problem 



The authors thank the Editor Prof. C. G. Cassandras, the Associate Editor, and all the anonymous reviewers for their detailed comments and criticisms on the various drafts of this paper, that led to several corrections in the proof and presentation. In particular, the authors gratefully thank the reviewer who suggested that they follow a differential inclusions based approach for the slower scale dynamics. The authors thank Prof. V. S. Borkar for helpful discussions. This work was partially supported through projects from the Department of Science and Technology (Government of India), Xerox Corporation (USA), and the Robert Bosch Centre (Indian Institute of Science).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and AutomationIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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