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In this paper, we study the finite-horizon optimal control problem for discrete-time nonlinear systems using the adaptive dynamic programming (ADP) approach. The idea is to use an iterative ADP algorithm to obtain the optimal control law which makes the performance index function close to the greatest lower bound of all performance indices within an -error bound. The optimal number of control steps can also be obtained by the proposed ADP algorithms. A convergence analysis of the proposed ADP algorithms in terms of performance index function and control policy is made. In order to facilitate the implementation of the iterative ADP algorithms, neural networks are used for approximating the performance index function, computing the optimal control policy, and modeling the nonlinear system. Finally, two simulation examples are employed to illustrate the applicability of the proposed method.