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Abstract:In this work we first show that the classical Thompson sampling algorithm for multi-arm bandits is differentially private as-is, without any modification. We provide per-round privacy guarantees as a function of problem parameters and show composition over $T$ rounds; since the algorithm is unchanged, existing $O(\sqrt{NT\log N})$ regret bounds still hold and there is no loss in performance due to privacy. We then show that simple modifications -- such as pre-pulling all arms a fixed number of times, increasing the sampling variance -- can provide tighter privacy guarantees. We again provide privacy guarantees that now depend on the new parameters introduced in the modification, which allows the analyst to tune the privacy guarantee as desired. We also provide a novel regret analysis for this new algorithm, and show how the new parameters also impact expected regret. Finally, we empirically validate and illustrate our theoretical findings in two parameter regimes and demonstrate that tuning the new parameters substantially improve the privacy-regret tradeoff.

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Abstract:We propose a spectral clustering algorithm for analyzing the dependence structure of multivariate extremes. More specifically, we focus on the asymptotic dependence of multivariate extremes characterized by the angular or spectral measure in extreme value theory. Our work studies the theoretical performance of spectral clustering based on a random $k$-nearest neighbor graph constructed from an extremal sample, i.e., the angular part of random vectors for which the radius exceeds a large threshold. In particular, we derive the asymptotic distribution of extremes arising from a linear factor model and prove that, under certain conditions, spectral clustering can consistently identify the clusters of extremes arising in this model. Leveraging this result we propose a simple consistent estimation strategy for learning the angular measure. Our theoretical findings are complemented with numerical experiments illustrating the finite sample performance of our methods.

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Abstract:$\alpha$-posteriors and their variational approximations distort standard posterior inference by downweighting the likelihood and introducing variational approximation errors. We show that such distortions, if tuned appropriately, reduce the Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence from the true, but perhaps infeasible, posterior distribution when there is potential parametric model misspecification. To make this point, we derive a Bernstein-von Mises theorem showing convergence in total variation distance of $\alpha$-posteriors and their variational approximations to limiting Gaussian distributions. We use these distributions to evaluate the KL divergence between true and reported posteriors. We show this divergence is minimized by choosing $\alpha$ strictly smaller than one, assuming there is a vanishingly small probability of model misspecification. The optimized value becomes smaller as the the misspecification becomes more severe. The optimized KL divergence increases logarithmically in the degree of misspecification and not linearly as with the usual posterior.

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