Recent developments in the area of reinforcement learning have yielded a number of new algorithms for the prediction and control of Markovian environments. These algorithms, including the TD(λ) algorithm of Sutton (1988) and the Q-learning algorithm of Watkins (1989), can be motivated heuristically as approximations to dynamic programming (DP). In this paper we provide a rigorous proof of convergence of these DP-based learning algorithms by relating them to the powerful techniques of stochastic approximation theory via a new convergence theorem. The theorem establishes a general class of convergent algorithms to which both TD(λ) and Q-learning belong.

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