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Abstract:In a typical stochastic multi-armed bandit problem, the objective is often to maximize the expected sum of rewards over some time horizon $T$. While the choice of a strategy that accomplishes that is optimal with no additional information, it is no longer the case when provided additional environment-specific knowledge. In particular, in areas of high volatility like healthcare or finance, a naive reward maximization approach often does not accurately capture the complexity of the learning problem and results in unreliable solutions. To tackle problems of this nature, we propose a framework of adaptive risk-aware strategies that operate in non-stationary environments. Our framework incorporates various risk measures prevalent in the literature to map multiple families of multi-armed bandit algorithms into a risk-sensitive setting. In addition, we equip the resulting algorithms with the Restarted Bayesian Online Change-Point Detection (R-BOCPD) algorithm and impose a (tunable) forced exploration strategy to detect local (per-arm) switches. We provide finite-time theoretical guarantees and an asymptotic regret bound of order $\tilde O(\sqrt{K_T T})$ up to time horizon $T$ with $K_T$ the total number of change-points. In practice, our framework compares favorably to the state-of-the-art in both synthetic and real-world environments and manages to perform efficiently with respect to both risk-sensitivity and non-stationarity.

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Abstract:We consider the problem of learning in a non-stationary reinforcement learning (RL) environment, where the setting can be fully described by a piecewise stationary discrete-time Markov decision process (MDP). We introduce a variant of the Restarted Bayesian Online Change-Point Detection algorithm (R-BOCPD) that operates on input streams originating from the more general multinomial distribution and provides near-optimal theoretical guarantees in terms of false-alarm rate and detection delay. Based on this, we propose an improved version of the UCRL2 algorithm for MDPs with state transition kernel sampled from a multinomial distribution, which we call R-BOCPD-UCRL2. We perform a finite-time performance analysis and show that R-BOCPD-UCRL2 enjoys a favorable regret bound of $O\left(D O \sqrt{A T K_T \log\left (\frac{T}{\delta} \right) + \frac{K_T \log \frac{K_T}{\delta}}{\min\limits_\ell \: \mathbf{KL}\left( {\mathbf{\theta}^{(\ell+1)}}\mid\mid{\mathbf{\theta}^{(\ell)}}\right)}}\right)$, where $D$ is the largest MDP diameter from the set of MDPs defining the piecewise stationary MDP setting, $O$ is the finite number of states (constant over all changes), $A$ is the finite number of actions (constant over all changes), $K_T$ is the number of change points up to horizon $T$, and $\mathbf{\theta}^{(\ell)}$ is the transition kernel during the interval $[c_\ell, c_{\ell+1})$, which we assume to be multinomially distributed over the set of states $\mathbb{O}$. Interestingly, the performance bound does not directly scale with the variation in MDP state transition distributions and rewards, ie. can also model abrupt changes. In practice, R-BOCPD-UCRL2 outperforms the state-of-the-art in a variety of scenarios in synthetic environments. We provide a detailed experimental setup along with a code repository (upon publication) that can be used to easily reproduce our experiments.

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Abstract:This paper tackles the problem of recovering a low-rank signal tensor with possibly correlated components from a random noisy tensor, or so-called spiked tensor model. When the underlying components are orthogonal, they can be recovered efficiently using tensor deflation which consists of successive rank-one approximations, while non-orthogonal components may alter the tensor deflation mechanism, thereby preventing efficient recovery. Relying on recently developed random tensor tools, this paper deals precisely with the non-orthogonal case by deriving an asymptotic analysis of a parameterized deflation procedure performed on an order-three and rank-two spiked tensor. Based on this analysis, an efficient tensor deflation algorithm is proposed by optimizing the parameter introduced in the deflation mechanism, which in turn is proven to be optimal by construction for the studied tensor model. The same ideas could be extended to more general low-rank tensor models, e.g., higher ranks and orders, leading to more efficient tensor methods with a broader impact on machine learning and beyond.

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