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Publication - Professor Sean Collins

    Simplified policy iteration for skip-free Markov decision processes


    Collins, E, 2007, ‘Simplified policy iteration for skip-free Markov decision processes’. University of Bristol


    We describe and analyse a new simplified policy iteration type algorithm for finite average cost Markov decision processes that are skip-free in the negative direction. We show that the algorithm is guaranteed to converge after a finite number of iterations, but the computational effort required for each iteration step is comparable with that for value iteration. We show that the analysis can be easily extended to solve continuous time models, discounted cost models and communicating models, and provides new insights into the formulation of the constraints in the linear programming approach to skip-free models. We also introduce and motivate a new class of models for multidimensional control problems which we call skip-free Markov decision processes on trees and show that the approach and the algorithm extend naturally to this wider class of models.

    Full details in the University publications repository