Bandits, Reinforcement Learning / Optimization

Moderator: Amin Karbasi


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Tue 13 April 16:15 - 16:30 PDT

Federated Multi-armed Bandits with Personalization

Chengshuai Shi · Cong Shen · Jing Yang

A general framework of personalized federated multi-armed bandits (PF-MAB) is proposed, which is a new bandit paradigm analogous to the federated learning (FL) framework in supervised learning and enjoys the features of FL with personalization. Under the PF-MAB framework, a mixed bandit learning problem that flexibly balances generalization and personalization is studied. A lower bound analysis for the mixed model is presented. We then propose the Personalized Federated Upper Confidence Bound (PF-UCB) algorithm, where the exploration length is chosen carefully to achieve the desired balance of learning the local model and supplying global information for the mixed learning objective. Theoretical analysis proves that PF-UCB achieves an O(log(T)) regret regardless of the degree of personalization, and has a similar instance dependency as the lower bound. Experiments using both synthetic and real-world datasets corroborate the theoretical analysis and demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

Tue 13 April 16:30 - 16:45 PDT

Near-Optimal Provable Uniform Convergence in Offline Policy Evaluation for Reinforcement Learning

Ming Yin · Yu Bai · Yu-Xiang Wang

The problem of \emph{Offline Policy Evaluation} (OPE) in Reinforcement Learning (RL) is a critical step towards applying RL in real life applications. Existing work on OPE mostly focus on evaluating a \emph{fixed} target policy $\pi$, which does not provide useful bounds for offline policy learning as $\pi$ will then be data-dependent. We address this problem by \emph{simultaneously} evaluating all policies in a policy class $\Pi$ --- uniform convergence in OPE --- and obtain nearly optimal error bounds for a number of global / local policy classes. Our results imply that the model-based planning achieves an optimal episode complexity of $\widetilde{O}(H^3/d_m\epsilon^2)$ in identifying an $\epsilon$-optimal policy under the \emph{time-inhomogeneous episodic} MDP model ($H$ is the planning horizon, $d_m$ is a quantity that reflects the exploration of the logging policy $\mu$). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the optimal rate is shown to be possible for the offline RL setting and the paper is the first that systematically investigates the uniform convergence in OPE.

Tue 13 April 16:45 - 17:00 PDT

Provably Efficient Safe Exploration via Primal-Dual Policy Optimization

Dongsheng Ding · Xiaohan Wei · Zhuoran Yang · Zhaoran Wang · Mihailo Jovanovic

We study the safe reinforcement learning problem using the constrained Markov decision processes in which an agent aims to maximize the expected total reward subject to a safety constraint on the expected total value of a utility function. We focus on an episodic setting with the function approximation where the Markov transition kernels have a linear structure but do not impose any additional assumptions on the sampling model. Designing safe reinforcement learning algorithms with provable computational and statistical efficiency is particularly challenging under this setting because of the need to incorporate both the safety constraint and the function approximation into the fundamental exploitation/exploration tradeoff. To this end, we present an \underline{O}ptimistic \underline{P}rimal-\underline{D}ual Proximal Policy \underline{OP}timization \mbox{(OPDOP)} algorithm where the value function is estimated by combining the least-squares policy evaluation and an additional bonus term for safe exploration. We prove that the proposed algorithm achieves an $\tilde{O}(d H^{2.5}\sqrt{T})$ regret and an $\tilde{O}(d H^{2.5}\sqrt{T})$ constraint violation, where $d$ is the dimension of the feature mapping, $H$ is the horizon of each episode, and $T$ is the total number of steps. These bounds hold when the reward/utility functions are fixed but the feedback after each episode is bandit. Our bounds depend on the capacity of the state-action space only through the dimension of the feature mapping and thus our results hold even when the number of states goes to infinity. To the best of our knowledge, we provide the first provably efficient online policy optimization algorithm for constrained Markov decision processes in the function approximation setting, with safe exploration.

Tue 13 April 17:00 - 17:15 PDT

Bayesian Coresets: Revisiting the Nonconvex Optimization Perspective

Yibo Zhang · Rajiv Khanna · Anastasios Kyrillidis · Sanmi Koyejo

Bayesian coresets have emerged as a promising approach for implementing scalable Bayesian inference. The Bayesian coreset problem involves selecting a (weighted) subset of the data samples, such that the posterior inference using the selected subset closely approximates the posterior inference using the full dataset. This manuscript revisits Bayesian coresets through the lens of sparsity constrained optimization. Leveraging recent advances in accelerated optimization methods, we propose and analyze a novel algorithm for coreset selection. We provide explicit convergence rate guarantees and present an empirical evaluation on a variety of benchmark datasets to highlight our proposed algorithm's superior performance compared to state-of-the-art on speed and accuracy.