Structure Adaptive Algorithms for Stochastic Bandits

Jul 12, 2020

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We study reward maximisation in a wide class of structured stochastic multi-armed bandit problems, where the mean rewards of arms satisfy some given structural constraints, e.g. linear, unimodal, sparse, etc. Our aim is to develop methods that are flexible (in that they easily adapt to different structures), powerful (in that they perform well empirically and/or provably match instance-dependent lower bounds) and efficient in that the per-round computational burden is small. We develop asymptotically optimal algorithms from instance-dependent lower-bounds using iterative saddle-point solvers. Our approach generalises recent iterative methods for pure exploration to reward maximisation, where a major challenge arises from the estimation of the sub-optimality gaps and their reciprocals. Still we manage to achieve all the above desiderata. Notably, our technique avoids the computational cost of the full-blown saddle point oracle employed by previous work, while at the same time enabling finite-time regret bounds. Our experiments reveal that our method successfully leverages the structural assumptions, while its regret is at worst comparable to that of vanilla UCB.

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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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