Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)
We study an extension of the classic stochastic multi-armed bandit problem which involves multiple plays and Markovian rewards in the rested bandits setting. In order to tackle this problem we consider an adaptive allocation rule which at each stage combines the information from the sample means of all the arms, with the Kullback-Leibler upper confidence bound of a single arm which is selected in round-robin way. For rewards generated from a one-parameter exponential family of Markov chains, we provide a finite-time upper bound for the regret incurred from this adaptive allocation rule, which reveals the logarithmic dependence of the regret on the time horizon, and which is asymptotically optimal. For our analysis we devise several concentration results for Markov chains, including a maximal inequality for Markov chains, that may be of interest in their own right. As a byproduct of our analysis we also establish asymptotically optimal, finite-time guarantees for the case of multiple plays, and i.i.d. rewards drawn from a one-parameter exponential family of probability densities. Additionally, we provide simulation results that illustrate that calculating Kullback-Leibler upper confidence bounds in a round-robin way, is significantly more efficient than calculating them for every arm at each round, and that the expected regrets of those two approaches behave similarly.