Bandits Dueling on Partially Ordered Sets

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)

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Julien Audiffren, Liva Ralaivola


We address the problem of dueling bandits defined on partially ordered sets, or posets. In this setting, arms may not be comparable, and there may be several (incomparable) optimal arms. We propose an algorithm, UnchainedBandits, that efficiently finds the set of optimal arms, or Pareto front, of any poset even when pairs of comparable arms cannot be a priori distinguished from pairs of incomparable arms, with a set of minimal assumptions. This means that UnchainedBandits does not require information about comparability and can be used with limited knowledge of the poset. To achieve this, the algorithm relies on the concept of decoys, which stems from social psychology. We also provide theoretical guarantees on both the regret incurred and the number of comparison required by UnchainedBandits, and we report compelling empirical results.