Efficient Algorithms for Extreme Bandits

Abstract

In this paper, we contribute to the Extreme Bandits problem, a variant of Multi-Armed Bandits in which the learner seeks to collect the largest possible reward. We first study the concentration of the maximum of i.i.d random variables under mild assumptions on the tail of the rewards distributions. This analysis motivates the introduction of Quantile of Maxima (QoMax). The properties of QoMax are sufficient to build an Explore-Then-Commit (ETC) strategy, QoMax-ETC, achieving strong asymptotic guarantees despite its simplicity. We then propose and analyze a more adaptive, anytime algorithm, QoMax-SDA, which combines QoMax with a subsampling method recently introduced by Baudry et al. (2021). Both algorithms are more efficient than existing approaches in two senses, (1) they lead to better empirical performance (2) they enjoy a significant reduction of the storage and computational cost.

Publication
To appear in AISTATS 2022