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

*Mark Herbster, Stephen Pasteris, Fabio Vitale, Massimiliano Pontil*

We consider running multiple instances of multi-armed bandit (MAB) problems in parallel. A main motivation for this study are online recommendation systems, in which each of $N$ users is associated with a MAB problem and the goal is to exploit users' similarity in order to learn users' preferences to $K$ items more efficiently. We consider the adversarial MAB setting, whereby an adversary is free to choose which user and which loss to present to the learner during the learning process. Users are in a social network and the learner is aided by a-priori knowledge of the strengths of the social links between all pairs of users. It is assumed that if the social link between two users is strong then they tend to share the same action. The regret is measured relative to an arbitrary function which maps users to actions. The smoothness of the function is captured by a resistance-based dispersion measure $\Psi$. We present two learning algorithms, GABA-I and GABA-II, which exploit the network structure to bias towards functions of low $\Psi$ values. We show that GABA-I has an expected regret bound of $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{\ln(NK/\Psi)\Psi KT})$ and per-trial time complexity of $\mathcal{O}(K\ln(N))$, whilst GABA-II has a weaker $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{\ln(N/\Psi)\ln(NK/\Psi)\Psi KT})$ regret, but a better $\mathcal{O}(\ln(K)\ln(N))$ per-trial time complexity. We highlight improvements of both algorithms over running independent standard MABs across users.

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