This paper considers the application of a Variable Neighborhood Search (VNS) algorithm for finite-horizon (H stages) Markov Decision Processes (MDPs), for the purpose of alleviating the "curse of dimensionality" phenomenon in searching for the global optimum. The main idea behind the VNSMDP algorithm is that, based on the result of the stage just considered, the search for the optimal solution (action) of state x in stage t is conducted systematically in variable neighborhood sets of the current action. Thus, the VNSMDP algorithm is capable of searching for the optimum within some subsets of the action space, rather than over the whole action set. Analysis on complexity and convergence attributes of the VNSMDP algorithm are conducted in the paper. It is shown by theoretical and computational analysis that, the VNSMDP algorithm succeeds in searching for the global optimum in an efficient way.
Published October 2009 , 21 pages