Master’s Thesis Presentation • Artificial Intelligence • Linearizing Contextual Multi-Armed Bandit Problems with Latent DynamicsExport this event to calendar

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 — 1:00 PM EST

Please note: This master’s thesis presentation will be given online.

Elliot Nelson, Master’s candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science

Supervisor: Professor Pascal Poupart

In many real-world applications of multi-armed bandit problems, both rewards and observed contexts are often influenced by confounding latent variables which evolve stochastically over time. While the observed contexts and rewards are nonlinearly related, prior knowledge of latent graphical structure can be leveraged to reduce the problem to the linear bandit setting. We develop a linearized latent Thompson sampling algorithm (L2TS), which exploits prior knowledge of the dependence of observed contexts on the hidden state to build a least-squares estimator of the latent transition matrix, and uses the resulting approximate posterior beliefs over the latent space as context features in a linear bandit problem. We upper bound the error in reward parameter estimates in our method, demonstrating the role of the latent dynamics and evolution of posterior beliefs. We also demonstrate through experiments the superiority of our approach over related bandit algorithms. Lastly, we derive a theoretical bound which demonstrates the influence of the latent dynamics and information theoretic structure of the problem on Bayesian inference over the latent space. Overall, our approach uses prior knowledge to reduce a complex decision-making problem to a simpler problem for which existing solutions and methods can be applied.


To join this master’s thesis presentation on Zoom, please go to https://vectorinstitute.zoom.us/j/92900426190?pwd=SEtKR2tCMjBvZWNxc3ludU9HaTEydz09.

Location 
Online master’s thesis presentation
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
Canada
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