A unified switching system perspective and convergence analysis of Q-learning algorithms

Donghwan Lee, Niao He

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This paper develops a novel and unified framework to analyze the convergence of a large family of Q-learning algorithms from the switching system perspective. We show that the nonlinear ODE models associated with Q-learning and many of its variants can be naturally formulated as affine switching systems. Building on their asymptotic stability, we obtain a number of interesting results: (i) we provide a simple ODE analysis for the convergence of asynchronous Q-learning under relatively weak assumptions; (ii) we establish the first convergence analysis of the averaging Q-learning algorithm, and (iii) we derive a new sufficient condition for the convergence of Q-learning with linear function approximation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - 2020
Event34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2020Dec 12 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing

Cite this