Nonparametric Contextual Bandits in Metric Spaces with Unknown Metric

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

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Nirandika Wanigasekara, Christina Yu


Consider a nonparametric contextual multi-arm bandit problem where each arm $a \in [K]$ is associated to a nonparametric reward function $f_a: [0,1] \to \mathbb{R}$ mapping from contexts to the expected reward. Suppose that there is a large set of arms, yet there is a simple but unknown structure amongst the arm reward functions, e.g. finite types or smooth with respect to an unknown metric space. We present a novel algorithm which learns data-driven similarities amongst the arms, in order to implement adaptive partitioning of the context-arm space for more efficient learning. We provide regret bounds along with simulations that highlight the algorithm's dependence on the local geometry of the reward functions.