Doubly robust off-policy evaluation with shrinkage

Jul 12, 2020

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We propose a new framework for designing estimators for off-policy evaluation in contextual bandits. Our approach is based on the asymptotically optimal doubly robust estimator, but we shrink the importance weights to minimize a bound on the mean squared error, which results in a better bias-variance tradeoff in finite samples. We use this optimization-based framework to obtain three estimators: (a) a weight-clipping estimator, (b) a new weight-shrinkage estimator, and (c) the first shrinkage-based estimator for combinatorial action sets. Extensive experiments in both standard and combinatorial bandit benchmark problems show that our estimators are highly adaptive and typically outperform state-of-the-art methods.

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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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