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Bandits with Adversarial Scaling

Thodoris Lykouris · Vahab Mirrokni · Renato Leme

Keywords: [ Online Learning, Active Learning, and Bandits ] [ Online Learning / Bandits ] [ Game Theory and Mechanism Design ]


We study "adversarial scaling", a multi-armed bandit model where rewards have a stochastic and an adversarial component. Our model captures display advertising where the "click-through-rate" can be decomposed to a (fixed across time) arm-quality component and a non-stochastic user-relevance component (fixed across arms). Despite the relative stochasticity of our model, we demonstrate two settings where most bandit algorithms suffer. On the positive side, we show that two algorithms, one from the action elimination and one from the mirror descent family are adaptive enough to be robust to adversarial scaling. Our results shed light on the robustness of adaptive parameter selection in stochastic bandits, which may be of independent interest.

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