Learning from Distributed Users in Contextual Linear Bandits Without Sharing the Context

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Osama Hanna, Lin Yang, Christina Fragouli


Contextual linear bandits is a rich and theoretically important model that has many practical applications. Recently, this setup gained a lot of interest in applications over wireless where communication constraints can be a performance bottleneck, especially when the contexts come from a large $d$-dimensional space. In this paper, we consider the distributed contextual linear bandit learning problem, where the agents who observe the contexts and take actions are geographically separated from the learner who performs the learning while not seeing the contexts. We assume that contexts are generated from a distribution and propose a method that uses $\approx 5d$ bits per context for the case of unknown context distribution and $0$ bits per context if the context distribution is known, while achieving nearly the same regret bound as if the contexts were directly observable. The former bound improves upon existing bounds by a $\log(T)$ factor, where $T$ is the length of the horizon, while the latter achieves information theoretical tightness.