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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Structured bandits and applications : exploiting problem structure for better decision-making under uncertainty Vaswani, Sharan

Abstract

We study the problem of decision-making under uncertainty in the bandit setting. This thesis goes beyond the well-studied multi-armed bandit model to consider structured bandit settings and their applications. In particular, we learn to make better decisions by leveraging the application-specific problem-structure in the form of features or graph information. We investigate the use of structured bandits in two practical applications: online recommender systems with an available network of users and viral marketing in social networks. For each of these applications, we design efficient bandit algorithms and theoretically characterize their performance. We experimentally evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of these algorithms on real-world datasets. For applications that require modelling complex non-linear feature-reward relationships, we propose a bootstrapping approach and establish theoretical regret bounds for it. Furthermore, we consider the application of multi-class classification with bandit feedback as a test-bed for evaluating our bootstrapping approach.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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