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A Framework for Adapting Offline Algorithms to Solve Combinatorial Multi-Armed Bandit Problems with Bandit Feedback

Guanyu Nie · Yididiya Nadew · Yanhui Zhu · Vaneet Aggarwal · Christopher J Quinn

Exhibit Hall 1 #327
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Abstract: We investigate the problem of stochastic, combinatorial multi-armed bandits where the learner only has access to bandit feedback and the reward function can be non-linear. We provide a general framework for adapting discrete offline approximation algorithms into sublinear $\alpha$-regret methods that only require bandit feedback, achieving $\mathcal{O}\left(T^\frac{2}{3}\log(T)^\frac{1}{3}\right)$ expected cumulative $\alpha$-regret dependence on the horizon $T$. The framework only requires the offline algorithms to be robust to small errors in function evaluation. The adaptation procedure does not even require explicit knowledge of the offline approximation algorithm --- the offline algorithm can be used as black box subroutine. To demonstrate the utility of the proposed framework, the proposed framework is applied to multiple problems in submodular maximization, adapting approximation algorithms for cardinality and for knapsack constraints. The new CMAB algorithms for knapsack constraints outperform a full-bandit method developed for the adversarial setting in experiments with real-world data.

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