Tracking the Best Expert in Non-stationary Stochastic Environments

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29 (NIPS 2016)

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Chen-Yu Wei, Yi-Te Hong, Chi-Jen Lu


We study the dynamic regret of multi-armed bandit and experts problem in non-stationary stochastic environments. We introduce a new parameter $\W$, which measures the total statistical variance of the loss distributions over $T$ rounds of the process, and study how this amount affects the regret. We investigate the interaction between $\W$ and $\Gamma$, which counts the number of times the distributions change, as well as $\W$ and $V$, which measures how far the distributions deviates over time. One striking result we find is that even when $\Gamma$, $V$, and $\Lambda$ are all restricted to constant, the regret lower bound in the bandit setting still grows with $T$. The other highlight is that in the full-information setting, a constant regret becomes achievable with constant $\Gamma$ and $\Lambda$, as it can be made independent of $T$, while with constant $V$ and $\Lambda$, the regret still has a $T^{1/3}$ dependency. We not only propose algorithms with upper bound guarantee, but prove their matching lower bounds as well.