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Collaborative Linear Bandits with Adversarial Agents: Near-Optimal Regret Bounds
Aritra Mitra · Arman Adibi · George J. Pappas · Hamed Hassani

Tue Nov 29 09:00 AM -- 11:00 AM (PST) @ Hall J #938
We consider a linear stochastic bandit problem involving $M$ agents that can collaborate via a central server to minimize regret. A fraction $\alpha$ of these agents are adversarial and can act arbitrarily, leading to the following tension: while collaboration can potentially reduce regret, it can also disrupt the process of learning due to adversaries. In this work, we provide a fundamental understanding of this tension by designing new algorithms that balance the exploration-exploitation trade-off via carefully constructed robust confidence intervals. We also complement our algorithms with tight analyses. First, we develop a robust collaborative phased elimination algorithm that achieves $\tilde{O}\left(\alpha+ 1/\sqrt{M}\right) \sqrt{dT}$ regret for each good agent; here, $d$ is the model-dimension and $T$ is the horizon. For small $\alpha$, our result thus reveals a clear benefit of collaboration despite adversaries. Using an information-theoretic argument, we then prove a matching lower bound, thereby providing the first set of tight, near-optimal regret bounds for collaborative linear bandits with adversaries. Furthermore, by leveraging recent advances in high-dimensional robust statistics, we significantly extend our algorithmic ideas and results to (i) the generalized linear bandit model that allows for non-linear observation maps; and (ii) the contextual bandit setting that allows for time-varying feature vectors.

Author Information

Aritra Mitra (North Carolina State University)
Arman Adibi (University of Pennsylvania)
George J. Pappas (University of Pennsylvania)

George J. Pappas is the UPS Foundation Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a secondary appointment in the Departments of Computer and Information Sciences, and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. He is member of the GRASP Lab and the PRECISE Center. He has previously served as the Deputy Dean for Research in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. His research focuses on control theory and in particular, hybrid systems, embedded systems, hierarchical and distributed control systems, with applications to unmanned aerial vehicles, distributed robotics, green buildings, and biomolecular networks. He is a Fellow of IEEE, and has received various awards such as the Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize, the George S. Axelby Award, the O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award, the National Science Foundation PECASE, and the George H. Heilmeier Faculty Excellence Award.

Hamed Hassani (UPenn)

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