Dueling Bandits with Adversarial Sleeping

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Authors

Aadirupa Saha, Pierre Gaillard

Abstract

We introduce the problem of sleeping dueling bandits with stochastic preferences and adversarial availabilities (DB-SPAA). In almost all dueling bandit applications, the decision space often changes over time; eg, retail store management, online shopping, restaurant recommendation, search engine optimization, etc. Surprisingly, this `sleeping aspect' of dueling bandits has never been studied in the literature. Like dueling bandits, the goal is to compete with the best arm by sequentially querying the preference feedback of item pairs. The non-triviality however results due to the non-stationary item spaces that allow any arbitrary subsets items to go unavailable every round. The goal is to find an optimal `no-regret policy that can identify the best available item at each round, as opposed to the standard `fixed best-arm regret objective' of dueling bandits. We first derive an instance-specific lower bound for DB-SPAA $\Omega( \sum_{i =1}^{K-1}\sum_{j=i+1}^K \frac{\log T}{\Delta(i,j)})$, where $K$ is the number of items and $\Delta(i,j)$ is the gap between items $i$ and $j$. This indicates that the sleeping problem with preference feedback is inherently more difficult than that for classical multi-armed bandits (MAB). We then propose two algorithms, with near optimal regret guarantees. Our results are corroborated empirically.