Bandits 3

Moderator: Seungjin Choi


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Wed 21 July 18:00 - 18:20 PDT
Resource Allocation in Multi-armed Bandit Exploration: Overcoming Sublinear Scaling with Adaptive Parallelism

Brijen Thananjeyan · Kirthevasan Kandasamy · Ion Stoica · Michael Jordan · Ken Goldberg · Joseph E Gonzalez

We study exploration in stochastic multi-armed bandits when we have access to a divisible resource that can be allocated in varying amounts to arm pulls. We focus in particular on the allocation of distributed computing resources, where we may obtain results faster by allocating more resources per pull, but might have reduced throughput due to nonlinear scaling. For example, in simulation-based scientific studies, an expensive simulation can be sped up by running it on multiple cores. This speed-up however, is partly offset by the communication among cores, which results in lower throughput than if fewer cores were allocated to run more trials in parallel. In this paper, we explore these trade-offs in two settings. First, in a fixed confidence setting, we need to find the best arm with a given target success probability as quickly as possible. We propose an algorithm which trades off between information accumulation and throughput and show that the time taken can be upper bounded by the solution of a dynamic program whose inputs are the gaps between the sub-optimal and optimal arms. We also prove a matching hardness result. Second, we present an algorithm for a fixed deadline setting, where we are given a time deadline and need to maximize the probability of finding the best arm. We corroborate our theoretical insights with simulation experiments that show that the algorithms consistently match or outperform baseline algorithms on a variety of problem instances.

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Wed 21 July 18:20 - 18:25 PDT
Optimal Streaming Algorithms for Multi-Armed Bandits

Tianyuan Jin · Keke Huang · Jing Tang · Xiaokui Xiao

This paper studies two variants of the best arm identification (BAI) problem under the streaming model, where we have a stream of n arms with reward distributions supported on [0,1] with unknown means. The arms in the stream are arriving one by one, and the algorithm cannot access an arm unless it is stored in a limited size memory.

We first study the streaming \epslion-topk-arms identification problem, which asks for k arms whose reward means are lower than that of the k-th best arm by at most \epsilon with probability at least 1-\delta. For general \epsilon \in (0,1), the existing solution for this problem assumes k = 1 and achieves the optimal sample complexity O(\frac{n}{\epsilon^2} \log \frac{1}{\delta}) using O(\log^*(n)) memory and a single pass of the stream. We propose an algorithm that works for any k and achieves the optimal sample complexity O(\frac{n}{\epsilon^2} \log\frac{k}{\delta}) using a single-arm memory and a single pass of the stream.

Second, we study the streaming BAI problem, where the objective is to identify the arm with the maximum reward mean with at least 1-\delta probability, using a single-arm memory and as few passes of the input stream as possible. We present a single-arm-memory algorithm that achieves a near instance-dependent optimal sample complexity within O(\log \Delta2^{-1}) passes, where \Delta2 is the gap between the mean of the best arm and that of the second best arm.

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Wed 21 July 18:25 - 18:30 PDT
Top-k eXtreme Contextual Bandits with Arm Hierarchy

Rajat Sen · Alexander Rakhlin · Lexing Ying · Rahul Kidambi · Dean Foster · Daniel Hill · Inderjit Dhillon

Motivated by modern applications, such as online advertisement and recommender systems, we study the top-$k$ extreme contextual bandits problem, where the total number of arms can be enormous, and the learner is allowed to select $k$ arms and observe all or some of the rewards for the chosen arms. We first propose an algorithm for the non-extreme realizable setting, utilizing the Inverse Gap Weighting strategy for selecting multiple arms. We show that our algorithm has a regret guarantee of $O(k\sqrt{(A-k+1)T \log (|F|T)})$, where $A$ is the total number of arms and $F$ is the class containing the regression function, while only requiring $\tilde{O}(A)$ computation per time step. In the extreme setting, where the total number of arms can be in the millions, we propose a practically-motivated arm hierarchy model that induces a certain structure in mean rewards to ensure statistical and computational efficiency. The hierarchical structure allows for an exponential reduction in the number of relevant arms for each context, thus resulting in a regret guarantee of $O(k\sqrt{(\log A-k+1)T \log (|F|T)})$. Finally, we implement our algorithm using a hierarchical linear function class and show superior performance with respect to well-known benchmarks on simulated bandit feedback experiments using extreme multi-label classification datasets. On a dataset with three million arms, our reduction scheme has an average inference time of only 7.9 milliseconds, which is a 100x improvement.

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Wed 21 July 18:30 - 18:35 PDT
Improved Regret Bounds of Bilinear Bandits using Action Space Analysis

Kyoungseok Jang · Kwang-Sung Jun · Se-Young Yun · Wanmo Kang

We consider the bilinear bandit problem where the learner chooses a pair of arms, each from two different action spaces of dimension $d_1$ and $d_2$, respectively. The learner then receives a reward whose expectation is a bilinear function of the two chosen arms with an unknown matrix parameter $\Theta^*\in\mathbb{R}^{d_1 \times d_2}$ with rank $r$. Despite abundant applications such as drug discovery, the optimal regret rate is unknown for this problem, though it was conjectured to be $\tilde O(\sqrt{d_1d_2(d_1+d_2)r T})$ by Jun et al. (2019) where $\tilde O$ ignores polylogarithmic factors in $T$. In this paper, we make progress towards closing the gap between the upper and lower bound on the optimal regret. First, we reject the conjecture above by proposing algorithms that achieve the regret $\tilde O(\sqrt{d_1 d_2 (d_1+d_2) T})$ using the fact that the action space dimension $O(d_1+d_2)$ is significantly lower than the matrix parameter dimension $O(d_1 d_2)$. Second, we additionally devise an algorithm with better empirical performance than previous algorithms.

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Wed 21 July 18:35 - 18:40 PDT
Interaction-Grounded Learning

Tengyang Xie · John Langford · Paul Mineiro · Ida Momennejad

Consider a prosthetic arm, learning to adapt to its user's control signals. We propose \emph{Interaction-Grounded Learning} for this novel setting, in which a learner's goal is to interact with the environment with no grounding or explicit reward to optimize its policies. Such a problem evades common RL solutions which require an explicit reward. The learning agent observes a multidimensional \emph{context vector}, takes an \emph{action}, and then observes a multidimensional \emph{feedback vector}. This multidimensional feedback vector has \emph{no} explicit reward information. In order to succeed, the algorithm must learn how to evaluate the feedback vector to discover a latent reward signal, with which it can ground its policies without supervision. We show that in an Interaction-Grounded Learning setting, with certain natural assumptions, a learner can discover the latent reward and ground its policy for successful interaction. We provide theoretical guarantees and a proof-of-concept empirical evaluation to demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach.

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Wed 21 July 18:40 - 18:45 PDT
Almost Optimal Anytime Algorithm for Batched Multi-Armed Bandits

Tianyuan Jin · Jing Tang · Pan Xu · Keke Huang · Xiaokui Xiao · Quanquan Gu

In batched multi-armed bandit problems, the learner can adaptively pull arms and adjust strategy in batches. In many real applications, not only the regret but also the batch complexity need to be optimized. Existing batched bandit algorithms usually assume that the time horizon T is known in advance. However, many applications involve an unpredictable stopping time. In this paper, we study the anytime batched multi-armed bandit problem. We propose an anytime algorithm that achieves the asymptotically optimal regret for exponential families of reward distributions with O(\log \log T \ilog^{\alpha} (T)) \footnote{Notation \ilog^{\alpha} (T) is the result of iteratively applying the logarithm function on T for \alpha times, e.g., \ilog^{3} (T)=\log\log\log T.} batches, where $\alpha\in O_{T}(1). Moreover, we prove that for any constant c>0, no algorithm can achieve the asymptotically optimal regret within c\log\log T batches.

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Wed 21 July 18:45 - 18:50 PDT
Pure Exploration and Regret Minimization in Matching Bandits

Flore Sentenac · Jialin Yi · ClĂ©ment Calauzènes · Vianney Perchet · Milan Vojnovic

Finding an optimal matching in a weighted graph is a standard combinatorial problem. We consider its semi-bandit version where either a pair or a full matching is sampled sequentially. We prove that it is possible to leverage a rank-1 assumption on the adjacency matrix to reduce the sample complexity and the regret of off-the-shelf algorithms up to reaching a linear dependency in the number of vertices (up to to poly-log terms).

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Wed 21 July 18:50 - 18:55 PDT

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