Fiez, Tanner, Jain, Lalit, Jamieson, Kevin, Ratliff, Lillian

In this paper we introduce the transductive linear bandit problem: given a set of measurement vectors $\mathcal{X}\subset \mathbb{R}^d$, a set of items $\mathcal{Z}\subset \mathbb{R}^d$, a fixed confidence $\delta$, and an unknown vector $\theta^{\ast}\in \mathbb{R}^d$, the goal is to infer $\text{argmax}_{z\in \mathcal{Z}} z^\top\theta^\ast$ with probability $1-\delta$ by making as few sequentially chosen noisy measurements of the form $x^\top\theta^{\ast}$ as possible. When $\mathcal{X}=\mathcal{Z}$, this setting generalizes linear bandits, and when $\mathcal{X}$ is the standard basis vectors and $\mathcal{Z}\subset \{0,1\}^d$, combinatorial bandits. Such a transductive setting naturally arises when the set of measurement vectors is limited due to factors such as availability or cost. As an example, in drug discovery the compounds and dosages $\mathcal{X}$ a practitioner may be willing to evaluate in the lab in vitro due to cost or safety reasons may differ vastly from those compounds and dosages $\mathcal{Z}$ that can be safely administered to patients in vivo. Alternatively, in recommender systems for books, the set of books $\mathcal{X}$ a user is queried about may be restricted to well known best-sellers even though the goal might be to recommend more esoteric titles $\mathcal{Z}$. In this paper, we provide instance-dependent lower bounds for the transductive setting, an algorithm that matches these up to logarithmic factors, and an evaluation. In particular, we provide the first non-asymptotic algorithm for linear bandits that nearly achieves the information theoretic lower bound.

Wang, Zhanfeng, Chang, Yuan-chin Ivan

To analyse a very large data set containing lengthy variables, we adopt a sequential estimation idea and propose a parallel divide-and-conquer method. We conduct several conventional sequential estimation procedures separately, and properly integrate their results while maintaining the desired statistical properties. Additionally, using a criterion from the statistical experiment design, we adopt an adaptive sample selection, together with an adaptive shrinkage estimation method, to simultaneously accelerate the estimation procedure and identify the effective variables. We confirm the cogency of our methods through theoretical justifications and numerical results derived from synthesized data sets. We then apply the proposed method to three real data sets, including those pertaining to appliance energy use and particulate matter concentration.

Some interesting stuff you can do with Lego's to introduce analytic thinking, computational complexity, and experimental design to kids 6-12 years old, and get them interested in analytics. Let's say you purchase 2 sets of Lego's (one to build a car, another one to build another car). Let's assume that the overlap between the two sets is substantial. There is three different ways that you can build the two cars. The first step consists in sorting the pieces (Lego's) by color, and maybe also size.

Selecting input data or design points for statistical models has been of great interest in sequential design and active learning. In this paper, we present a new strategy of selecting the design points for a regression model when the underlying regression function is discontinuous. Two main motivating examples are (1) compressed material imaging with the purpose of accelerating the imaging speed and (2) design for regression analysis over a phase diagram in chemistry. In both examples, the underlying regression functions have discontinuities, so many of the existing design optimization approaches cannot be applied for the two examples because they mostly assume a continuous regression function. There are some studies for estimating a discontinuous regression function from its noisy observations, but all noisy observations are typically provided in advance in these studies. In this paper, we develop a design strategy of selecting the design points for regression analysis with discontinuities. We first review the existing approaches relevant to design optimization and active learning for regression analysis and discuss their limitations in handling a discontinuous regression function. We then present our novel design strategy for a regression analysis with discontinuities: some statistical properties with a fixed design will be presented first, and then these properties will be used to propose a new criterion of selecting the design points for the regression analysis. Sequential design of experiments with the new criterion will be presented with numerical examples.

Gramacy, Robert B., Ludkovski, Mike

We propose a new approach to solve optimal stopping problems via simulation. Working within the backward dynamic programming/Snell envelope framework, we augment the methodology of Longstaff-Schwartz that focuses on approximating the stopping strategy. Namely, we introduce adaptive generation of the stochastic grids anchoring the simulated sample paths of the underlying state process. This allows for active learning of the classifiers partitioning the state space into the continuation and stopping regions. To this end, we examine sequential design schemes that adaptively place new design points close to the stopping boundaries. We then discuss dynamic regression algorithms that can implement such recursive estimation and local refinement of the classifiers. The new algorithm is illustrated with a variety of numerical experiments, showing that an order of magnitude savings in terms of design size can be achieved. We also compare with existing benchmarks in the context of pricing multi-dimensional Bermudan options.