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Online Learning 2

Moderator: Branislav Kveton

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Wed 21 July 17:00 - 17:20 PDT

Online Unrelated Machine Load Balancing with Predictions Revisited

Shi Li · Jiayi Xian

We study the online load balancing problem with machine learned predictions, and give results that improve upon and extend those in a recent paper by Lattanzi et al. (2020). First, we design deterministic and randomized online rounding algorithms for the problem in the unrelated machine setting, with $O(\frac{\log m}{\log \log m})$- and $O(\frac{\log \log m}{\log \log \log m})$-competitive ratios. They respectively improve upon the previous ratios of $O(\log m)$ and $O(\log^3\log m)$, and match the lower bounds given by Lattanzi et al. Second, we extend their prediction scheme from the identical machine restricted assignment setting to the unrelated machine setting. With the knowledge of two vectors over machines, a dual vector and a weight vector, we can construct a good fractional assignment online, that can be passed to an online rounding algorithm. Finally, we consider the learning model introduced by Lavastida et al. (2020), and show that under the model, the two vectors can be learned efficiently with a few samples of instances.

Wed 21 July 17:20 - 17:25 PDT

MOTS: Minimax Optimal Thompson Sampling

Tianyuan Jin · Pan Xu · Jieming Shi · Xiaokui Xiao · Quanquan Gu

Thompson sampling is one of the most widely used algorithms in many online decision problems due to its simplicity for implementation and superior empirical performance over other state-of-the-art methods. Despite its popularity and empirical success, it has remained an open problem whether Thompson sampling can achieve the minimax optimal regret O(\sqrt{TK}) for K-armed bandit problems, where T is the total time horizon. In this paper we fill this long open gap by proposing a new Thompson sampling algorithm called MOTS that adaptively truncates the sampling result of the chosen arm at each time step. We prove that this simple variant of Thompson sampling achieves the minimax optimal regret bound O(\sqrt{TK}) for finite time horizon T and also the asymptotic optimal regret bound when $T$ grows to infinity as well. This is the first time that the minimax optimality of multi-armed bandit problems has been attained by Thompson sampling type of algorithms.

Wed 21 July 17:25 - 17:30 PDT

Regularized Online Allocation Problems: Fairness and Beyond

Santiago Balseiro · Haihao Lu · Vahab Mirrokni

Online allocation problems with resource constraints have a rich history in computer science and operations research. In this paper, we introduce the regularized online allocation problem, a variant that includes a non-linear regularizer acting on the total resource consumption. In this problem, requests repeatedly arrive over time and, for each request, a decision maker needs to take an action that generates a reward and consumes resources. The objective is to simultaneously maximize total rewards and the value of the regularizer subject to the resource constraints. Our primary motivation is the online allocation of internet advertisements wherein firms seek to maximize additive objectives such as the revenue or efficiency of the allocation. By introducing a regularizer, firms can account for the fairness of the allocation or, alternatively, punish under-delivery of advertisements---two common desiderata in internet advertising markets. We design an algorithm when arrivals are drawn independently from a distribution that is unknown to the decision maker. Our algorithm is simple, fast, and attains the optimal order of sub-linear regret compared to the optimal allocation with the benefit of hindsight. Numerical experiments confirm the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm and of the regularizers in an internet advertising application.

Wed 21 July 17:30 - 17:35 PDT

Near-Optimal Representation Learning for Linear Bandits and Linear RL

Jiachen Hu · Xiaoyu Chen · Chi Jin · Lihong Li · Liwei Wang

This paper studies representation learning for multi-task linear bandits and multi-task episodic RL with linear value function approximation. We first consider the setting where we play $M$ linear bandits with dimension $d$ concurrently, and these bandits share a common $k$-dimensional linear representation so that $k\ll d$ and $k \ll M$. We propose a sample-efficient algorithm, MTLR-OFUL, which leverages the shared representation to achieve $\tilde{O}(M\sqrt{dkT} + d\sqrt{kMT} )$ regret, with $T$ being the number of total steps. Our regret significantly improves upon the baseline $\tilde{O}(Md\sqrt{T})$ achieved by solving each task independently. We further develop a lower bound that shows our regret is near-optimal when $d > M$. Furthermore, we extend the algorithm and analysis to multi-task episodic RL with linear value function approximation under low inherent Bellman error (Zanette et al., 2020a). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first theoretical result that characterize the benefits of multi-task representation learning for exploration in RL with function approximation.

Wed 21 July 17:35 - 17:40 PDT

Improved Corruption Robust Algorithms for Episodic Reinforcement Learning

Yifang Chen · Simon Du · Kevin Jamieson

We study episodic reinforcement learning under unknown adversarial corruptions in both the rewards and the transition probabilities of the underlying system. We propose new algorithms which, compared to the existing results in \cite{lykouris2020corruption}, achieve strictly better regret bounds in terms of total corruptions for the tabular setting. To be specific, firstly, our regret bounds depend on more precise numerical values of total rewards corruptions and transition corruptions, instead of only on the total number of corrupted episodes. Secondly, our regret bounds are the first of their kind in the reinforcement learning setting to have the number of corruptions show up additively with respect to $\min\{ \sqrt{T},\text{PolicyGapComplexity} \}$ rather than multiplicatively. Our results follow from a general algorithmic framework that combines corruption-robust policy elimination meta-algorithms, and plug-in reward-free exploration sub-algorithms. Replacing the meta-algorithm or sub-algorithm may extend the framework to address other corrupted settings with potentially more structure.

Wed 21 July 17:40 - 17:45 PDT

DriftSurf: Stable-State / Reactive-State Learning under Concept Drift

Ashraf Tahmasbi · Ellango Jothimurugesan · Srikanta Tirthapura · Phillip Gibbons

When learning from streaming data, a change in the data distribution, also known as concept drift, can render a previously-learned model inaccurate and require training a new model. We present an adaptive learning algorithm that extends previous drift-detection-based methods by incorporating drift detection into a broader stable-state/reactive-state process. The advantage of our approach is that we can use aggressive drift detection in the stable state to achieve a high detection rate, but mitigate the false positive rate of standalone drift detection via a reactive state that reacts quickly to true drifts while eliminating most false positives. The algorithm is generic in its base learner and can be applied across a variety of supervised learning problems. Our theoretical analysis shows that the risk of the algorithm is (i) statistically better than standalone drift detection and (ii) competitive to an algorithm with oracle knowledge of when (abrupt) drifts occur. Experiments on synthetic and real datasets with concept drifts confirm our theoretical analysis.

Wed 21 July 17:45 - 17:50 PDT

Online Submodular Resource Allocation with Applications to Rebalancing Shared Mobility Systems

Pier Giuseppe Sessa · Ilija Bogunovic · Andreas Krause · Maryam Kamgarpour

Motivated by applications in shared mobility, we address the problem of allocating a group of agents to a set of resources to maximize a cumulative welfare objective. We model the welfare obtainable from each resource as a monotone DR-submodular function which is a-priori unknown and can only be learned by observing the welfare of selected allocations. Moreover, these functions can depend on time-varying contextual information. We propose a distributed scheme to maximize the cumulative welfare by designing a repeated game among the agents, who learn to act via regret minimization. We propose two design choices for the game rewards based on upper confidence bounds built around the unknown welfare functions. We analyze them theoretically, bounding the gap between the cumulative welfare of the game and the highest cumulative welfare obtainable in hindsight. Finally, we evaluate our approach in a realistic case study of rebalancing a shared mobility system (i.e., positioning vehicles in strategic areas). From observed trip data, our algorithm gradually learns the users' demand pattern and improves the overall system operation.

Wed 21 July 17:50 - 17:55 PDT