Online Learning with Gaussian Payoffs and Side Observations

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)

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Yifan Wu, András György, Csaba Szepesvari


We consider a sequential learning problem with Gaussian payoffs and side information: after selecting an action $i$, the learner receives information about the payoff of every action $j$ in the form of Gaussian observations whose mean is the same as the mean payoff, but the variance depends on the pair $(i,j)$ (and may be infinite). The setup allows a more refined information transfer from one action to another than previous partial monitoring setups, including the recently introduced graph-structured feedback case. For the first time in the literature, we provide non-asymptotic problem-dependent lower bounds on the regret of any algorithm, which recover existing asymptotic problem-dependent lower bounds and finite-time minimax lower bounds available in the literature. We also provide algorithms that achieve the problem-dependent lower bound (up to some universal constant factor) or the minimax lower bounds (up to logarithmic factors).