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Abstract:In this paper, we investigate a problem of actively learning threshold in latent space, where the unknown reward $g(\gamma, v)$ depends on the proposed threshold $\gamma$ and latent value $v$ and it can be $only$ achieved if the threshold is lower than or equal to the unknown latent value. This problem has broad applications in practical scenarios, e.g., reserve price optimization in online auctions, online task assignments in crowdsourcing, setting recruiting bars in hiring, etc. We first characterize the query complexity of learning a threshold with the expected reward at most $\epsilon$ smaller than the optimum and prove that the number of queries needed can be infinitely large even when $g(\gamma, v)$ is monotone with respect to both $\gamma$ and $v$. On the positive side, we provide a tight query complexity $\tilde{\Theta}(1/\epsilon^3)$ when $g$ is monotone and the CDF of value distribution is Lipschitz. Moreover, we show a tight $\tilde{\Theta}(1/\epsilon^3)$ query complexity can be achieved as long as $g$ satisfies one-sided Lipschitzness, which provides a complete characterization for this problem. Finally, we extend this model to an online learning setting and demonstrate a tight $\Theta(T^{2/3})$ regret bound using continuous-arm bandit techniques and the aforementioned query complexity results.

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Abstract:We consider the problem of evaluating forecasts of binary events whose predictions are consumed by rational agents who take an action in response to a prediction, but whose utility is unknown to the forecaster. We show that optimizing forecasts for a single scoring rule (e.g., the Brier score) cannot guarantee low regret for all possible agents. In contrast, forecasts that are well-calibrated guarantee that all agents incur sublinear regret. However, calibration is not a necessary criterion here (it is possible for miscalibrated forecasts to provide good regret guarantees for all possible agents), and calibrated forecasting procedures have provably worse convergence rates than forecasting procedures targeting a single scoring rule. Motivated by this, we present a new metric for evaluating forecasts that we call U-calibration, equal to the maximal regret of the sequence of forecasts when evaluated under any bounded scoring rule. We show that sublinear U-calibration error is a necessary and sufficient condition for all agents to achieve sublinear regret guarantees. We additionally demonstrate how to compute the U-calibration error efficiently and provide an online algorithm that achieves $O(\sqrt{T})$ U-calibration error (on par with optimal rates for optimizing for a single scoring rule, and bypassing lower bounds for the traditionally calibrated learning procedures). Finally, we discuss generalizations to the multiclass prediction setting.

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Abstract:In the Learning to Price setting, a seller posts prices over time with the goal of maximizing revenue while learning the buyer's valuation. This problem is very well understood when values are stationary (fixed or iid). Here we study the problem where the buyer's value is a moving target, i.e., they change over time either by a stochastic process or adversarially with bounded variation. In either case, we provide matching upper and lower bounds on the optimal revenue loss. Since the target is moving, any information learned soon becomes out-dated, which forces the algorithms to keep switching between exploring and exploiting phases.

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