Multi-Armed Bandits with Metric Movement Costs

Koren, Tomer, Livni, Roi, Mansour, Yishay

Neural Information Processing Systems 

We consider the non-stochastic Multi-Armed Bandit problem in a setting where there is a fixed and known metric on the action space that determines a cost for switching between any pair of actions. The loss of the online learner has two components: the first is the usual loss of the selected actions, and the second is an additional loss due to switching between actions. Our main contribution gives a tight characterization of the expected minimax regret in this setting, in terms of a complexity measure $\mathcal{C}$ of the underlying metric which depends on its covering numbers. In finite metric spaces with $k$ actions, we give an efficient algorithm that achieves regret of the form $\widetilde(\max\set{\mathcal{C}^{1/3}T^{2/3},\sqrt{kT}})$, and show that this is the best possible. Our regret bound generalizes previous known regret bounds for some special cases: (i) the unit-switching cost regret $\widetilde{\Theta}(\max\set{k^{1/3}T^{2/3},\sqrt{kT}})$ where $\mathcal{C}=\Theta(k)$, and (ii) the interval metric with regret $\widetilde{\Theta}(\max\set{T^{2/3},\sqrt{kT}})$ where $\mathcal{C}=\Theta(1)$. For infinite metrics spaces with Lipschitz loss functions, we derive a tight regret bound of $\widetilde{\Theta}(T^{\frac{d+1}{d+2}})$ where $d \ge 1$ is the Minkowski dimension of the space, which is known to be tight even when there are no switching costs.

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