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Unconstrained Dynamic Regret via Sparse Coding

Zhiyu Zhang · Zhiyu Zhang · Ashok Cutkosky · Yannis Paschalidis

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1808
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[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Thu 14 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST

Abstract: Motivated by the challenge of nonstationarity in sequential decision making, we study Online Convex Optimization (OCO) under the coupling of two problem structures: the domain is unbounded, and the comparator sequence $u_1,\ldots,u_T$ is arbitrarily time-varying. As no algorithm can guarantee low regret simultaneously against all comparator sequences, handling this setting requires moving from minimax optimality to comparator adaptivity. That is, sensible regret bounds should depend on certain complexity measures of the comparator relative to one's prior knowledge. This paper achieves a new type of such adaptive regret bounds leveraging a sparse coding framework. The complexity of the comparator is measured by its energy and its sparsity on a user-specified dictionary, which offers considerable versatility. For example, equipped with a wavelet dictionary, our framework improves the state-of-the-art bound (Jacobsen & Cutkosky, 2022) by adapting to both ($i$) the magnitude of the comparator average $||\bar u||=||\sum_{t=1}^Tu_t/T||$, rather than the maximum $\max_t||u_t||$; and ($ii$) the comparator variability $\sum_{t=1}^T||u_t-\bar u||$, rather than the uncentered sum $\sum_{t=1}^T||u_t||$. Furthermore, our proof is simpler due to decoupling function approximation from regret minimization.

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