On Upper-Confidence Bound Policies for Non-Stationary Bandit ProblemsReport as inadecuate

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1 LTCI - Laboratoire Traitement et Communication de l-Information

Abstract : Multi-armed bandit problems are considered as a paradigm of the trade-off between exploring the environment to find profitable actions and exploiting what is already known. In the stationary case, the distributions of the rewards do not change in time, Upper-Confidence Bound UCB policies have been shown to be rate optimal. A challenging variant of the MABP is the non-stationary bandit problem where the gambler must decide which arm to play while facing the possibility of a changing environment. In this paper, we consider the situation where the distributions of rewards remain constant over epochs and change at unknown time instants. We analyze two algorithms: the discounted UCB and the sliding-window UCB. We establish for these two algorithms an upper-bound for the expected regret by upper-bounding the expectation of the number of times a suboptimal arm is played. For that purpose, we derive a Hoeffding type inequality for self normalized deviations with a random number of summands. We establish a lower-bound for the regret in presence of abrupt changes in the arms reward distributions. We show that the discounted UCB and the sliding-window UCB both match the lower-bound up to a logarithmic factor.

Keywords : Multi-armed bandit reinforcement learning deviation inequalities non-stationary environment

Author: Aurélien Garivier - Eric Moulines -

Source: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/


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