Non-Stationary Bandits with Auto-Regressive Temporal Dependency

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Qinyi Chen, Negin Golrezaei, Djallel Bouneffouf


Traditional multi-armed bandit (MAB) frameworks, predominantly examined under stochastic or adversarial settings, often overlook the temporal dynamics inherent in many real-world applications such as recommendation systems and online advertising. This paper introduces a novel non-stationary MAB framework that captures the temporal structure of these real-world dynamics through an auto-regressive (AR) reward structure. We propose an algorithm that integrates two key mechanisms: (i) an alternation mechanism adept at leveraging temporal dependencies to dynamically balance exploration and exploitation, and (ii) a restarting mechanism designed to discard out-of-date information. Our algorithm achieves a regret upper bound that nearly matches the lower bound, with regret measured against a robust dynamic benchmark. Finally, via a real-world case study on tourism demand prediction, we demonstrate both the efficacy of our algorithm and the broader applicability of our techniques to more complex, rapidly evolving time series.