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    Abstract: Radio access network (RAN) in 5G is expected to satisfy the stringent delay requirements of a variety of applications. The packet scheduler plays an important role by allocating spectrum resources to user equipments (UEs) at each transmit time interval (TTI). In this paper, we show that optimal scheduling is a challenging combinatorial optimization problem, which is hard to solve within the channel coherence time with conventional optimization methods. Rule-based scheduling methods, on the other hand, are hard to adapt to the time-varying wireless channel conditions and various data request patterns of UEs. Recently, integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into wireless networks has drawn great interest from both academia and industry. In this paper, we incorporate deep reinforcement learning (DRL) into the design of cellular packet scheduling. A delay-aware cell traffic scheduling algorithm is developed to map the observed system state to scheduling decision. Due to the huge state space, a recurrent neural network (RNN) is utilized to approximate the optimal action-policy function. Different from conventional rule-based scheduling methods, the proposed scheme can learn from the interactions with the environment and adaptively choosing the best scheduling decision at each TTI. Simulation results show that the DRL-based packet scheduling can achieve the lowest average delay compared with several conventional approaches. Meanwhile, the UEs' average queue lengths can also be significantly reduced. The developed method also exhibits great potential in real-time scheduling in delay-sensitive scenarios. 
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