In this paper we provide a perturbation analysis of finite time-inhomogeneous Markov processes. We derive closed-form representations for the derivative of the transition probability at time t, with t > 0. Elaborating on this result, we derive simple gradient estimators for transient performance characteristics either taken at some fixed point in time t, or for the integrated performance over a time interval [0 , t]. Bounds for transient performance sensitivities are presented as well. Eventually, we identify a structural property of the derivative of the generator matrix of a Markov chain that leads to a significant simplification of the estimators.
"Perturbation analysis of inhomogeneous finite Markov chains." Adv. in Appl. Probab. 48 (1) 255 - 273, March 2016.