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Abstract:The recent work by Dong & Yang (2023) showed for misspecified sparse linear bandits, one can obtain an $O\left(\epsilon\right)$-optimal policy using a polynomial number of samples when the sparsity is a constant, where $\epsilon$ is the misspecification error. This result is in sharp contrast to misspecified linear bandits without sparsity, which require an exponential number of samples to get the same guarantee. In order to study whether the analog result is possible in the reinforcement learning setting, we consider the following problem: assuming the optimal $Q$-function is a $d$-dimensional linear function with sparsity $k$ and misspecification error $\epsilon$, whether we can obtain an $O\left(\epsilon\right)$-optimal policy using number of samples polynomially in the feature dimension $d$. We first demonstrate why the standard approach based on Bellman backup or the existing optimistic value function elimination approach such as OLIVE (Jiang et al., 2017) achieves suboptimal guarantees for this problem. We then design a novel elimination-based algorithm to show one can obtain an $O\left(H\epsilon\right)$-optimal policy with sample complexity polynomially in the feature dimension $d$ and planning horizon $H$. Lastly, we complement our upper bound with an $\widetilde{\Omega}\left(H\epsilon\right)$ suboptimality lower bound, giving a complete picture of this problem.

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Abstract:We consider a novel multi-arm bandit (MAB) setup, where a learner needs to communicate the actions to distributed agents over erasure channels, while the rewards for the actions are directly available to the learner through external sensors. In our model, while the distributed agents know if an action is erased, the central learner does not (there is no feedback), and thus does not know whether the observed reward resulted from the desired action or not. We propose a scheme that can work on top of any (existing or future) MAB algorithm and make it robust to action erasures. Our scheme results in a worst-case regret over action-erasure channels that is at most a factor of $O(1/\sqrt{1-\epsilon})$ away from the no-erasure worst-case regret of the underlying MAB algorithm, where $\epsilon$ is the erasure probability. We also propose a modification of the successive arm elimination algorithm and prove that its worst-case regret is $\Tilde{O}(\sqrt{KT}+K/(1-\epsilon))$, which we prove is optimal by providing a matching lower bound.

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Abstract:The constrained Markov decision process (CMDP) framework emerges as an important reinforcement learning approach for imposing safety or other critical objectives while maximizing cumulative reward. However, the current understanding of how to learn efficiently in a CMDP environment with a potentially infinite number of states remains under investigation, particularly when function approximation is applied to the value functions. In this paper, we address the learning problem given linear function approximation with $q_{\pi}$-realizability, where the value functions of all policies are linearly representable with a known feature map, a setting known to be more general and challenging than other linear settings. Utilizing a local-access model, we propose a novel primal-dual algorithm that, after $\tilde{O}(\text{poly}(d) \epsilon^{-3})$ queries, outputs with high probability a policy that strictly satisfies the constraints while nearly optimizing the value with respect to a reward function. Here, $d$ is the feature dimension and $\epsilon > 0$ is a given error. The algorithm relies on a carefully crafted off-policy evaluation procedure to evaluate the policy using historical data, which informs policy updates through policy gradients and conserves samples. To our knowledge, this is the first result achieving polynomial sample complexity for CMDP in the $q_{\pi}$-realizable setting.

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Abstract:Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) has greatly improved the performance of Large Language Model (LLM) responses by grounding generation with context from existing documents. These systems work well when documents are clearly relevant to a question context. But what about when a document has partial information, or less obvious connections to the context? And how should we reason about connections between documents? In this work, we seek to answer these two core questions about RAG generation. We introduce G-RAG, a reranker based on graph neural networks (GNNs) between the retriever and reader in RAG. Our method combines both connections between documents and semantic information (via Abstract Meaning Representation graphs) to provide a context-informed ranker for RAG. G-RAG outperforms state-of-the-art approaches while having smaller computational footprint. Additionally, we assess the performance of PaLM 2 as a reranker and find it to significantly underperform G-RAG. This result emphasizes the importance of reranking for RAG even when using Large Language Models.

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Abstract:Multi-Armed Bandit (MAB) systems are witnessing an upswing in applications within multi-agent distributed environments, leading to the advancement of collaborative MAB algorithms. In such settings, communication between agents executing actions and the primary learner making decisions can hinder the learning process. A prevalent challenge in distributed learning is action erasure, often induced by communication delays and/or channel noise. This results in agents possibly not receiving the intended action from the learner, subsequently leading to misguided feedback. In this paper, we introduce novel algorithms that enable learners to interact concurrently with distributed agents across heterogeneous action erasure channels with different action erasure probabilities. We illustrate that, in contrast to existing bandit algorithms, which experience linear regret, our algorithms assure sub-linear regret guarantees. Our proposed solutions are founded on a meticulously crafted repetition protocol and scheduling of learning across heterogeneous channels. To our knowledge, these are the first algorithms capable of effectively learning through heterogeneous action erasure channels. We substantiate the superior performance of our algorithm through numerical experiments, emphasizing their practical significance in addressing issues related to communication constraints and delays in multi-agent environments.

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Abstract:To tackle long planning horizon problems in reinforcement learning with general function approximation, we propose the first algorithm, termed as UCRL-WVTR, that achieves both \emph{horizon-free} and \emph{instance-dependent}, since it eliminates the polynomial dependency on the planning horizon. The derived regret bound is deemed \emph{sharp}, as it matches the minimax lower bound when specialized to linear mixture MDPs up to logarithmic factors. Furthermore, UCRL-WVTR is \emph{computationally efficient} with access to a regression oracle. The achievement of such a horizon-free, instance-dependent, and sharp regret bound hinges upon (i) novel algorithm designs: weighted value-targeted regression and a high-order moment estimator in the context of general function approximation; and (ii) fine-grained analyses: a novel concentration bound of weighted non-linear least squares and a refined analysis which leads to the tight instance-dependent bound. We also conduct comprehensive experiments to corroborate our theoretical findings.

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Abstract:Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) are a cornerstone of decentralized finance (DeFi), allowing users to trade cryptocurrencies without the need for third-party authorization. Investors are incentivized to deposit assets into liquidity pools, against which users can trade directly, while paying fees to liquidity providers (LPs). However, a number of unresolved issues related to capital efficiency and market risk hinder DeFi's further development. Uniswap V3, a leading and groundbreaking DEX project, addresses capital efficiency by enabling LPs to concentrate their liquidity within specific price ranges for deposited assets. Nevertheless, this approach exacerbates market risk, as LPs earn trading fees only when asset prices are within these predetermined brackets. To mitigate this issue, this paper introduces a deep reinforcement learning (DRL) solution designed to adaptively adjust these price ranges, maximizing profits and mitigating market risks. Our approach also neutralizes price-change risks by hedging the liquidity position through a rebalancing portfolio in a centralized futures exchange. The DRL policy aims to optimize trading fees earned by LPs against associated costs, such as gas fees and hedging expenses, which is referred to as loss-versus-rebalancing (LVR). Using simulations with a profit-and-loss (PnL) benchmark, our method demonstrates superior performance in ETH/USDC and ETH/USDT pools compared to existing baselines. We believe that this strategy not only offers investors a valuable asset management tool but also introduces a new incentive mechanism for DEX designers.

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Abstract:Recently, DARPA launched the ShELL program, which aims to explore how experience sharing can benefit distributed lifelong learning agents in adapting to new challenges. In this paper, we address this issue by conducting both theoretical and empirical research on distributed multi-task reinforcement learning (RL), where a group of $N$ agents collaboratively solves $M$ tasks without prior knowledge of their identities. We approach the problem by formulating it as linearly parameterized contextual Markov decision processes (MDPs), where each task is represented by a context that specifies the transition dynamics and rewards. To tackle this problem, we propose an algorithm called DistMT-LSVI. First, the agents identify the tasks, and then they exchange information through a central server to derive $\epsilon$-optimal policies for the tasks. Our research demonstrates that to achieve $\epsilon$-optimal policies for all $M$ tasks, a single agent using DistMT-LSVI needs to run a total number of episodes that is at most $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}({d^3H^6(\epsilon^{-2}+c_{\rm sep}^{-2})}\cdot M/N)$, where $c_{\rm sep}>0$ is a constant representing task separability, $H$ is the horizon of each episode, and $d$ is the feature dimension of the dynamics and rewards. Notably, DistMT-LSVI improves the sample complexity of non-distributed settings by a factor of $1/N$, as each agent independently learns $\epsilon$-optimal policies for all $M$ tasks using $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(d^3H^6M\epsilon^{-2})$ episodes. Additionally, we provide numerical experiments conducted on OpenAI Gym Atari environments that validate our theoretical findings.

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Abstract:While numerous works have focused on devising efficient algorithms for reinforcement learning (RL) with uniformly bounded rewards, it remains an open question whether sample or time-efficient algorithms for RL with large state-action space exist when the rewards are \emph{heavy-tailed}, i.e., with only finite $(1+\epsilon)$-th moments for some $\epsilon\in(0,1]$. In this work, we address the challenge of such rewards in RL with linear function approximation. We first design an algorithm, \textsc{Heavy-OFUL}, for heavy-tailed linear bandits, achieving an \emph{instance-dependent} $T$-round regret of $\tilde{O}\big(d T^{\frac{1-\epsilon}{2(1+\epsilon)}} \sqrt{\sum_{t=1}^T \nu_t^2} + d T^{\frac{1-\epsilon}{2(1+\epsilon)}}\big)$, the \emph{first} of this kind. Here, $d$ is the feature dimension, and $\nu_t^{1+\epsilon}$ is the $(1+\epsilon)$-th central moment of the reward at the $t$-th round. We further show the above bound is minimax optimal when applied to the worst-case instances in stochastic and deterministic linear bandits. We then extend this algorithm to the RL settings with linear function approximation. Our algorithm, termed as \textsc{Heavy-LSVI-UCB}, achieves the \emph{first} computationally efficient \emph{instance-dependent} $K$-episode regret of $\tilde{O}(d \sqrt{H \mathcal{U}^*} K^\frac{1}{1+\epsilon} + d \sqrt{H \mathcal{V}^* K})$. Here, $H$ is length of the episode, and $\mathcal{U}^*, \mathcal{V}^*$ are instance-dependent quantities scaling with the central moment of reward and value functions, respectively. We also provide a matching minimax lower bound $\Omega(d H K^{\frac{1}{1+\epsilon}} + d \sqrt{H^3 K})$ to demonstrate the optimality of our algorithm in the worst case. Our result is achieved via a novel robust self-normalized concentration inequality that may be of independent interest in handling heavy-tailed noise in general online regression problems.

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Abstract:Large-scale language models have shown the ability to adapt to a new task via conditioning on a few demonstrations (i.e., in-context learning). However, in the vision-language domain, most large-scale pre-trained vision-language (VL) models do not possess the ability to conduct in-context learning. How can we enable in-context learning for VL models? In this paper, we study an interesting hypothesis: can we transfer the in-context learning ability from the language domain to VL domain? Specifically, we first meta-trains a language model to perform in-context learning on NLP tasks (as in MetaICL); then we transfer this model to perform VL tasks by attaching a visual encoder. Our experiments suggest that indeed in-context learning ability can be transferred cross modalities: our model considerably improves the in-context learning capability on VL tasks and can even compensate for the size of the model significantly. On VQA, OK-VQA, and GQA, our method could outperform the baseline model while having 20 times fewer parameters.

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