UBC Theses and Dissertations
Piecewise linear Markov decision processes with an application to partially observable Markov models Sawaki, Katsushige
This dissertation applies policy improvement and successive approximation or value iteration to a general class of Markov decision processes with discounted costs. In particular, a class of Markov decision processes, called piecewise-linear, is studied. Piecewise-linear processes are characterized by the property that the value function of a process observed for one period and then terminated is piecewise-linear if the terminal reward function is piecewise-linear. Partially observable Markov decision processes have this property. It is shown that there are e-optimal piecewise-linear value functions and piecewise-constant policies which are simple. Simple means that there are only finitely many pieces, each of which is defined on a convex polyhedral set. Algorithms based on policy improvement and successive approximation are developed to compute simple approximations to an optimal policy and the optimal value function.
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