Nonstochastic Multiarmed Bandits with Unrestricted Delays

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Tobias Sommer Thune, Nicolò Cesa-Bianchi, Yevgeny Seldin


We investigate multiarmed bandits with delayed feedback, where the delays need neither be identical nor bounded. We first prove that "delayed" Exp3 achieves the $O(\sqrt{(KT + D)\ln K})$ regret bound conjectured by Cesa-Bianchi et al. [2016] in the case of variable, but bounded delays. Here, $K$ is the number of actions and $D$ is the total delay over $T$ rounds. We then introduce a new algorithm that lifts the requirement of bounded delays by using a wrapper that skips rounds with excessively large delays. The new algorithm maintains the same regret bound, but similar to its predecessor requires prior knowledge of $D$ and $T$. For this algorithm we then construct a novel doubling scheme that forgoes the prior knowledge requirement under the assumption that the delays are available at action time (rather than at loss observation time). This assumption is satisfied in a broad range of applications, including interaction with servers and service providers. The resulting oracle regret bound is of order $\min_\beta (|S_\beta|+\beta \ln K + (KT + D_\beta)/\beta)$, where $|S_\beta|$ is the number of observations with delay exceeding $\beta$, and $D_\beta$ is the total delay of observations with delay below $\beta$. The bound relaxes to $O(\sqrt{(KT + D)\ln K})$, but we also provide examples where $D_\beta \ll D$ and the oracle bound has a polynomially better dependence on the problem parameters.