Communication Efficient Distributed Learning for Kernelized Contextual Bandits

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

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Chuanhao Li, Huazheng Wang, Mengdi Wang, Hongning Wang


We tackle the communication efficiency challenge of learning kernelized contextual bandits in a distributed setting. Despite the recent advances in communication-efficient distributed bandit learning, existing solutions are restricted to simple models like multi-armed bandits and linear bandits, which hamper their practical utility. In this paper, instead of assuming the existence of a linear reward mapping from the features to the expected rewards, we consider non-linear reward mappings, by letting agents collaboratively search in a reproducing kernel Hilbert space (RKHS). This introduces significant challenges in communication efficiency as distributed kernel learning requires the transfer of raw data, leading to a communication cost that grows linearly w.r.t. time horizon $T$. We addresses this issue by equipping all agents to communicate via a common Nystr\"{o}m embedding that gets updated adaptively as more data points are collected. We rigorously proved that our algorithm can attain sub-linear rate in both regret and communication cost.