skip to main content

Title: Active Search using Meta-Bandits
There are many applications where positive instances are rare but important to identify. For example, in NLP, positive sentences for a given relation are rare in a large corpus. Positive data are more informative for learning in these applications, but before one labels a certain amount of data, it is unknown where to find the rare positives. Since random sampling can lead to significant waste in labeling effort, previous ”active search” methods use a single bandit model to learn about the data distribution (exploration) while sampling from the regions potentially containing more positives (exploitation). Many bandit models are possible and a sub-optimal model reduces labeling efficiency, but the optimal model is unknown before any data are labeled. We propose Meta-AS (Meta Active Search) that uses a meta-bandit to evaluate a set of base bandits and aims to label positive examples efficiently, comparing to the optimal base bandit with hindsight. The meta-bandit estimates the mean and variance of the performance of the base bandits, and selects a base bandit to propose what data to label next for exploration or exploitation. The feedback in the labels updates both the base bandits and the meta-bandit for the next round. Meta-AS can accommodate a more » diverse set of base bandits to explore assumptions about the dataset, without over-committing to a single model before labeling starts. Experiments on five datasets for relation extraction demonstrate that Meta-AS labels positives more efficiently than the base bandits and other bandit selection strategies. « less
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
1931042 1757787
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10184358
Journal Name:
The 29th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM'2020)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. In this paper, we propose and study opportunistic bandits - a new variant of bandits where the regret of pulling a suboptimal arm varies under different environmental conditions, such as network load or produce price. When the load/price is low, so is the cost/regret of pulling a suboptimal arm (e.g., trying a suboptimal network configuration). Therefore, intuitively, we could explore more when the load/price is low and exploit more when the load/price is high. Inspired by this intuition, we propose an Adaptive Upper-Confidence-Bound (AdaUCB) algorithm to adaptively balance the exploration-exploitation tradeoff for opportunistic bandits. We prove that AdaUCB achieves O(log T) regret with a smaller coefficient than the traditional UCB algorithm. Furthermore, AdaUCB achieves O(1) regret with respect to T if the exploration cost is zero when the load level is below a certain threshold. Last, based on both synthetic data and real-world traces, experimental results show that AdaUCB significantly outperforms other bandit algorithms, such as UCB and TS (Thompson Sampling), under large load/price fluctuation.
  2. There has been significant recent work on data-driven algorithms for learning general-purpose grasping policies. However, these policies can consis- tently fail to grasp challenging objects which are significantly out of the distribution of objects in the training data or which have very few high quality grasps. Moti- vated by such objects, we propose a novel problem setting, Exploratory Grasping, for efficiently discovering reliable grasps on an unknown polyhedral object via sequential grasping, releasing, and toppling. We formalize Exploratory Grasping as a Markov Decision Process where we assume that the robot can (1) distinguish stable poses of a polyhedral object of unknown geometry, (2) generate grasp can- didates on these poses and execute them, (3) determine whether each grasp is successful, and (4) release the object into a random new pose after a grasp success or topple the object after a grasp failure. We study the theoretical complexity of Exploratory Grasping in the context of reinforcement learning and present an efficient bandit-style algorithm, Bandits for Online Rapid Grasp Exploration Strategy (BORGES), which leverages the structure of the problem to efficiently discover high performing grasps for each object stable pose. BORGES can be used to complement any general-purpose grasping algorithm with anymore »grasp modality (parallel-jaw, suction, multi-fingered, etc) to learn policies for objects in which they exhibit persistent failures. Simulation experiments suggest that BORGES can significantly outperform both general-purpose grasping pipelines and two other online learning algorithms and achieves performance within 5% of the optimal policy within 1000 and 8000 timesteps on average across 46 challenging objects from the Dex-Net adversarial and EGAD! object datasets, respectively. Initial physical experiments suggest that BORGES can improve grasp success rate by 45% over a Dex-Net baseline with just 200 grasp attempts in the real world. See https://tinyurl.com/exp-grasping for supplementary material and videos.« less
  3. In this paper, we propose and study opportunistic contextual bandits - a special case of contextual bandits where the exploration cost varies under different environmental conditions, such as network load or return variation in recommendations. When the exploration cost is low, so is the actual regret of pulling a sub-optimal arm (e.g., trying a suboptimal recommendation). Therefore, intuitively, we could explore more when the exploration cost is relatively low and exploit more when the exploration cost is relatively high. Inspired by this intuition, for opportunistic contextual bandits with Linear payoffs, we propose an Adaptive Upper-Confidence-Bound algorithm (AdaLinUCB) to adaptively balance the exploration-exploitation trade-off for opportunistic learning. We prove that AdaLinUCB achieves O((log T)^2) problem-dependent regret upper bound, which has a smaller coefficient than that of the traditional LinUCB algorithm. Moreover, based on both synthetic and real-world dataset, we show that AdaLinUCB significantly outperforms other contextual bandit algorithms, under large exploration cost fluctuations.

  4. Collaborative bandit learning, i.e., bandit algorithms that utilize collaborative filtering techniques to improve sample efficiency in online interactive recommendation, has attracted much research attention as it enjoys the best of both worlds. However, all existing collaborative bandit learning solutions impose a stationary assumption about the environment, i.e., both user preferences and the dependency among users are assumed static over time. Unfortunately, this assumption hardly holds in practice due to users' ever-changing interests and dependency relations, which inevitably costs a recommender system sub-optimal performance in practice. In this work, we develop a collaborative dynamic bandit solution to handle a changing environment for recommendation. We explicitly model the underlying changes in both user preferences and their dependency relation as a stochastic process. Individual user's preference is modeled by a mixture of globally shared contextual bandit models with a Dirichlet process prior. Collaboration among users is thus achieved via Bayesian inference over the global bandit models. To balance exploitation and exploration during the interactions, Thompson sampling is used for both model selection and arm selection. Our solution is proved to maintain a standard $\tilde O(\sqrt{T})$ Bayesian regret in this challenging environment. Extensive empirical evaluations on both synthetic and real-world datasets further confirmed themore »necessity of modeling a changing environment and our algorithm's practical advantages against several state-of-the-art online learning solutions.« less
  5. The model selection problem in the pure exploration linear bandit setting is introduced and studied in both the fixed confidence and fixed budget settings. The model selection problem considers a nested sequence of hypothesis classes of increasing complexities. Our goal is to automatically adapt to the instance-dependent complexity measure of the smallest hypothesis class containing the true model, rather than suffering from the complexity measure related to the largest hypothesis class. We provide evidence showing that a standard doubling trick over dimension fails to achieve the optimal instance-dependent sample complexity. Our algorithms define a new optimization problem based on experimental design that leverages the geometry of the action set to efficiently identify a near-optimal hypothesis class. Our fixed budget algorithm uses a novel application of a selection-validation trick in bandits. This provides a new method for the understudied fixed budget setting in linear bandits (even without the added challenge of model selection). We further generalize the model selection problem to the misspecified regime, adapting our algorithms in both fixed confidence and fixed budget settings.