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Workshop: New Frontiers in Adversarial Machine Learning

Meta-Learning Adversarial Bandits

Nina Balcan · Keegan Harris · Mikhail Khodak · Steven Wu


We study online learning with bandit feedback across multiple tasks, with the goal of improving average performance across tasks if they are similar according to some natural task-similarity measure. As the first to target the adversarial setting, we design a unified meta-algorithm that yields setting-specific guarantees for two important cases: multi-armed bandits (MAB) and bandit linear optimization (BLO). For MAB, the meta-algorithm tunes the initialization, step-size, and entropy parameter of the Tsallis-entropy generalization of the well-known Exp3 method, with the task-averaged regret provably improving if the entropy of the distribution over estimated optima-in-hindsight is small. For BLO, we learn the initialization, step-size, and boundary-offset of online mirror descent (OMD) with self-concordant barrier regularizers, showing that task-averaged regret varies directly with a measure induced by these functions on the interior of the action space. Our adaptive guarantees rely on proving that unregularized follow-the-leader combined with multiplicative weights is enough to online learn a non-smooth and non-convex sequence of affine functions of Bregman divergences that upper-bound the regret of OMD.

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