Thompson Sampling via Local Uncertainty

Jul 12, 2020

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Thompson sampling is an efficient algorithm for sequential decision making, which exploits the posterior uncertainty to address the exploration-exploitation dilemma. There has been significant recent interest in integrating Bayesian neural networks into Thompson sampling. Most of these methods rely on global variable uncertainty for exploration. In this paper, we propose a new probabilistic modeling framework for Thompson sampling, where local latent variable uncertainty is used to sample the mean reward. Variational inference is used to approximate the posterior of the local variable, and semi-implicit structure is further introduced to enhance its expressiveness. Our experimental results on eight contextual bandits benchmark datasets show that Thompson sampling guided by local uncertainty achieves state-of-the-art performance while having low computational complexity.

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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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