Designing Optimal Dynamic Treatment Regimes: A Causal RL Approach

Jul 12, 2020



A dynamic treatment regime (DTR) consists of a sequence of decision rules, one per stage of intervention, that dictates how to determine the treatment assignment to patients based on evolving treatments and covariates' history. These regimes are particularly effective for managing chronic disorders and is arguably one of the critical ingredients underlying more personalized decision-making systems. All reinforcement learning algorithms for finding the optimal DTR in online settings will suffer O(√(|D_X, S|T)) regret on some environments, where T is the number of experiments, and D_X, S is the domains of treatments X and covariates S. This implies T = O (|D_X, S|) trials to generate an optimal DTR. In many applications, domains of X and S could be so enormous that the time required to ensure appropriate learning may be unattainable. We show that, if the causal diagram of the underlying environment is provided, one could achieve regret that is exponentially smaller than D_X, S. In particular, we develop two online algorithms that satisfy such regret bounds by exploiting the causal structure underlying the DTR; one is based on the principle of optimism in the face of uncertainty (OFU-DTR), and the other uses the posterior sampling learning (PS-DTR). Finally, we introduce efficient methods to accelerate these online learning procedures by leveraging the abundant, yet biased observational (non-experimental) data.



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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