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Multi-Armed Bandits with Metric Movement Costs

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 $\mathcal{C} \Theta(1)$.


Introduction to Multi-Armed Bandits

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Multi-armed bandits a simple but very powerful framework for algorithms that make decisions over time under uncertainty. An enormous body of work has accumulated over the years, covered in several books and surveys. This book provides a more introductory, textbook-like treatment of the subject. Each chapter tackles a particular line of work, providing a self-contained, teachable technical introduction and a review of the more advanced results. The chapters are as follows: Stochastic bandits; Lower bounds; Bayesian Bandits and Thompson Sampling; Lipschitz Bandits; Full Feedback and Adversarial Costs; Adversarial Bandits; Linear Costs and Semi-bandits; Contextual Bandits; Bandits and Zero-Sum Games; Bandits with Knapsacks; Incentivized Exploration and Connections to Mechanism Design.


Multi-armed bandits on implicit metric spaces

Neural Information Processing Systems

The multi-armed bandit (MAB) setting is a useful abstraction of many online learning tasks which focuses on the trade-off between exploration and exploitation. In this setting, an online algorithm has a fixed set of alternatives ("arms"), and in each round it selects one arm and then observes the corresponding reward. While the case of small number of arms is by now well-understood, a lot of recent work has focused on multi-armed bandits with (infinitely) many arms, where one needs to assume extra structure in order to make the problem tractable. In particular, in the Lipschitz MAB problem there is an underlying similarity metric space, known to the algorithm, such that any two arms that are close in this metric space have similar payoffs. In this paper we consider the more realistic scenario in which the metric space is *implicit* -- it is defined by the available structure but not revealed to the algorithm directly. Specifically, we assume that an algorithm is given a tree-based classification of arms. For any given problem instance such a classification implicitly defines a similarity metric space, but the numerical similarity information is not available to the algorithm. We provide an algorithm for this setting, whose performance guarantees (almost) match the best known guarantees for the corresponding instance of the Lipschitz MAB problem.


Online Optimization in X-Armed Bandits

Neural Information Processing Systems

We consider a generalization of stochastic bandit problems where the set of arms, X, is allowed to be a generic topological space. We constraint the mean-payoff function with a dissimilarity function over X in a way that is more general than Lipschitz. We construct an arm selection policy whose regret improves upon previous result for a large class of problems. In particular, our results imply that if X is the unit hypercube in a Euclidean space and the mean-payoff function has a finite number of global maxima around which the behavior of the function is locally Hölder with a known exponent, then the expected regret is bounded up to a logarithmic factor by $n$, i.e., the rate of the growth of the regret is independent of the dimension of the space. Moreover, we prove the minimax optimality of our algorithm for the class of mean-payoff functions we consider.


Contextual bandits with surrogate losses: Margin bounds and efficient algorithms

Neural Information Processing Systems

We use surrogate losses to obtain several new regret bounds and new algorithms for contextual bandit learning. Using the ramp loss, we derive a new margin-based regret bound in terms of standard sequential complexity measures of a benchmark class of real-valued regression functions. Using the hinge loss, we derive an efficient algorithm with a $\sqrt{dT}$-type mistake bound against benchmark policies induced by $d$-dimensional regressors. Under realizability assumptions, our results also yield classical regret bounds.