Distributionally Robust Policy Evaluation and Learning in Offline Contextual Bandits

Jul 12, 2020

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Policy learning using historical observational data is an important problem that has found widespread applications. Examples include selecting offers, prices, advertisements to send to customers, as well as selecting which medication to prescribe to a patient. However, existing literature rests on the crucial assumption that the future environment where the learned policy will be deployed is the same as the past environment that has generated the data–an assumption that is often false or too coarse an approximation. In this paper, we lift this assumption and aim to learn a distributionally robust policy with incomplete (bandit) observational data. We propose a novel learning algorithm that is able to learn a robust policy to adversarial perturbations and unknown covariate shifts. We first present a policy evaluation procedure in the ambiguous environment and also give a heuristic algorithm to solve the distributionally robust policy learning problems efficiently. Additionally, we provide extensive simulations to demonstrate the robustness of our policy.

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About ICML 2020

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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