informs ® doi 10.1287/opre.1040.0145 © 2005 INFORMS Based on recent results for multiarmed bandit problems, we propose an adaptive sampling algorithm that approximates the optimal value of a finite-horizon Markov decision process (MDP) with finite state and action spaces. The algorithm adaptively chooses which action to sample as the sampling process proceeds and generates an asymptotically unbiased estimator, whose bias is bounded by a quantity that converges to zero at rate �ln N �/N, where N is the total number of samples that are used per state sampled in each stage. The worst-case running-time complexity of the algorithm is O���A�N�H�, independent of the size of the state space, where �A � is the size of the action space and H is the horizon length. The algorithm can be used to create an approximate receding horizon control to solve infinite-horizon MDPs. To illustrate the algorithm, computational results are reported on simple examples from inventory control. Subject classifications: dynamic programming/optimal control: Markov finite state
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