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Workshop: Gaussian Processes, Spatiotemporal Modeling, and Decision-making Systems

Adaptive Experimentation at Scale

Ethan Che · Hongseok Namkoong


In typical experimentation paradigms, reallocating measurement effort incurs high operational costs due to delayed feedback, and infrastructural and organizational difficulties. Challenges in reallocation lead practitioners to employ a few reallocation epochs in which outcomes are measured in large batches. Standard adaptive experimentation methods, however, do not scale to these regimes as they are tailored to perform well as the number of reallocation epochs grows. We develop a new adaptive experimentation framework that can flexibly handle any batch size and learns near-optimal designs when reallocation opportunities are few. By deriving an asymptotic sequential experiment based on normal approximations, we formulate a Bayesian dynamic program that can leverage prior information based on previous experiments. We propose policy gradient-based lookahead policies and find that despite relying on approximations, our methods greatly improve statistical power over uniform allocation and standard adaptive policies.

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