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Online Learning 1

Moderator: Andras Gyorgy


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Wed 21 July 6:00 - 6:20 PDT

Regret and Cumulative Constraint Violation Analysis for Online Convex Optimization with Long Term Constraints

Xinlei Yi · Xiuxian Li · Tao Yang · Lihua Xie · Tianyou Chai · Karl Johansson

This paper considers online convex optimization with long term constraints, where constraints can be violated in intermediate rounds, but need to be satisfied in the long run. The cumulative constraint violation is used as the metric to measure constraint violations, which excludes the situation that strictly feasible constraints can compensate the effects of violated constraints. A novel algorithm is first proposed and it achieves an $\mathcal{O}(T^{\max\{c,1-c\}})$ bound for static regret and an $\mathcal{O}(T^{(1-c)/2})$ bound for cumulative constraint violation, where $c\in(0,1)$ is a user-defined trade-off parameter, and thus has improved performance compared with existing results. Both static regret and cumulative constraint violation bounds are reduced to $\mathcal{O}(\log(T))$ when the loss functions are strongly convex, which also improves existing results. %In order to bound the regret with respect to any comparator sequence, In order to achieve the optimal regret with respect to any comparator sequence, another algorithm is then proposed and it achieves the optimal $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{T(1+P_T)})$ regret and an $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{T})$ cumulative constraint violation, where $P_T$ is the path-length of the comparator sequence. Finally, numerical simulations are provided to illustrate the effectiveness of the theoretical results.

Wed 21 July 6:20 - 6:25 PDT

Near-Optimal Confidence Sequences for Bounded Random Variables

Arun Kuchibhotla · Qinqing Zheng

Many inference problems, such as sequential decision problems like A/B testing, adaptive sampling schemes like bandit selection, are often online in nature. The fundamental problem for online inference is to provide a sequence of confidence intervals that are valid uniformly over the growing-into-infinity sample sizes. To address this question, we provide a near-optimal confidence sequence for bounded random variables by utilizing Bentkus' concentration results. We show that it improves on the existing approaches that use the Cram{\'e}r-Chernoff technique such as the Hoeffding, Bernstein, and Bennett inequalities. The resulting confidence sequence is confirmed to be favorable in synthetic coverage problems, adaptive stopping algorithms, and multi-armed bandit problems.

Wed 21 July 6:25 - 6:30 PDT

Joint Online Learning and Decision-making via Dual Mirror Descent

Alfonso Lobos Ruiz · Paul Grigas · Zheng Wen

We consider an online revenue maximization problem over a finite time horizon subject to lower and upper bounds on cost. At each period, an agent receives a context vector sampled i.i.d. from an unknown distribution and needs to make a decision adaptively. The revenue and cost functions depend on the context vector as well as some fixed but possibly unknown parameter vector to be learned. We propose a novel offline benchmark and a new algorithm that mixes an online dual mirror descent scheme with a generic parameter learning process. When the parameter vector is known, we demonstrate an $O(\sqrt{T})$ regret result as well an $O(\sqrt{T})$ bound on the possible constraint violations. When the parameter is not known and must be learned, we demonstrate that the regret and constraint violations are the sums of the previous $O(\sqrt{T})$ terms plus terms that directly depend on the convergence of the learning process.

Wed 21 July 6:30 - 6:35 PDT

Online A-Optimal Design and Active Linear Regression

Xavier Fontaine · Pierre Perrault · Michal Valko · Vianney Perchet

We consider in this paper the problem of optimal experiment design where a decision maker can choose which points to sample to obtain an estimate $\hat{\beta}$ of the hidden parameter $\beta^{\star}$ of an underlying linear model. The key challenge of this work lies in the heteroscedasticity assumption that we make, meaning that each covariate has a different and unknown variance. The goal of the decision maker is then to figure out on the fly the optimal way to allocate the total budget of $T$ samples between covariates, as sampling several times a specific one will reduce the variance of the estimated model around it (but at the cost of a possible higher variance elsewhere). By trying to minimize the $\ell^2$-loss $\mathbb{E} [\lVert\hat{\beta}-\beta^{\star}\rVert^2]$ the decision maker is actually minimizing the trace of the covariance matrix of the problem, which corresponds then to online A-optimal design. Combining techniques from bandit and convex optimization we propose a new active sampling algorithm and we compare it with existing ones. We provide theoretical guarantees of this algorithm in different settings, including a $\mathcal{O}(T^{-2})$ regret bound in the case where the covariates form a basis of the feature space, generalizing and improving existing results. Numerical experiments validate our theoretical findings.

Wed 21 July 6:35 - 6:40 PDT

Fairness and Bias in Online Selection

Jose Correa · Andres Cristi · Paul Duetting · Ashkan Norouzi-Fard

There is growing awareness and concern about fairness in machine learning and algorithm design. This is particularly true in online selection problems where decisions are often biased, for example, when assessing credit risks or hiring staff. We address the issues of fairness and bias in online selection by introducing multi-color versions of the classic secretary and prophet problem. Interestingly, existing algorithms for these problems are either very unfair or very inefficient, so we develop optimal fair algorithms for these new problems and provide tight bounds on their competitiveness. We validate our theoretical findings on real-world data.

Wed 21 July 6:40 - 6:45 PDT

ChaCha for Online AutoML

Qingyun Wu · Chi Wang · John Langford · Paul Mineiro · Marco Rossi

We propose the ChaCha (Champion-Challengers) algorithm for making an online choice of hyperparameters in online learning settings. ChaCha handles the process of determining a champion and scheduling a set of `live' challengers over time based on sample complexity bounds. It is guaranteed to have sublinear regret after the optimal configuration is added into consideration by an application-dependent oracle based on the champions. Empirically, we show that ChaCha provides good performance across a wide array of datasets when optimizing over featurization and hyperparameter decisions.

Wed 21 July 6:45 - 6:50 PDT

An Algorithm for Stochastic and Adversarial Bandits with Switching Costs

Chlo√© Rouyer · Yevgeny Seldin · Nicol√≤ Cesa-Bianchi

We propose an algorithm for stochastic and adversarial multiarmed bandits with switching costs, where the algorithm pays a price $\lambda$ every time it switches the arm being played. Our algorithm is based on adaptation of the Tsallis-INF algorithm of Zimmert and Seldin (2021) and requires no prior knowledge of the regime or time horizon. In the oblivious adversarial setting it achieves the minimax optimal regret bound of $ O( (\lambda K)^{1/3}T^{2/3} + \sqrt{KT})$, where $T$ is the time horizon and $K$ is the number of arms. In the stochastically constrained adversarial regime, which includes the stochastic regime as a special case, it achieves a regret bound of $O((\lambda K)^{2/3} T^{1/3} + \ln T)\sum_{i \neq i^*} \Delta_i^{-1})$, where $\Delta_i$ are suboptimality gaps and $i^*$ is the unique optimal arm. In the special case of $\lambda = 0$ (no switching costs), both bounds are minimax optimal within constants. We also explore variants of the problem, where switching cost is allowed to change over time. We provide experimental evaluation showing competitiveness of our algorithm with the relevant baselines in the stochastic, stochastically constrained adversarial, and adversarial regimes with fixed switching cost.

Wed 21 July 6:50 - 6:55 PDT