Concentration bounds for CVaR estimation: The cases of light-tailed and heavy-tailed distributions

Jul 12, 2020

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Conditional Value-at-Risk (CVaR) is a widely used risk metric in applications such as finance. We derive concentration bounds for CVaR estimates, considering separately the cases of sub-Gaussian, light-tailed and heavy-tailed distributions. For the sub-Gaussian and light-tailed cases, we use a classical CVaR estimator based on the empirical distribution constructed from the samples. For heavy-tailed random variables, we assume a mild `bounded moment' condition, and derive a concentration bound for a truncation-based estimator. Our concentration bounds exhibit exponential decay in the sample size, and are tighter than those available in the literature for the above distribution classes. To demonstrate the applicability of our concentration results, we consider the CVaR optimization problem in a multi-armed bandit setting. Specifically, we address (i) the best CVaR-arm identification problem under a fixed budget; and (ii) CVaR-based regret minimization. Using our CVaR concentration bounds, we derive an upper-bound on the probability of incorrect identification for (i), and a regret guarantee for (ii).

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The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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