Federated Neural BanditsDownload PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 28 Feb 2023ICLR 2023 posterReaders: Everyone
Keywords: neural contextual bandits, federated bandits
TL;DR: We introduce federated neural-UCB, which uses a weighted combination of two UCBs that respectively, (a) accelerates exploration using observations from other agents and (b) improves reward prediction using a neural network with aggregated parameters.
Abstract: Recent works on neural contextual bandits have achieved compelling performances due to their ability to leverage the strong representation power of neural networks (NNs) for reward prediction. Many applications of contextual bandits involve multiple agents who collaborate without sharing raw observations, thus giving rise to the setting of federated contextual bandits}. Existing works on federated contextual bandits rely on linear or kernelized bandits, which may fall short when modeling complex real-world reward functions. So, this paper introduces the federated neural-upper confidence bound (FN-UCB) algorithm. To better exploit the federated setting, FN-UCB adopts a weighted combination of two UCBs: $\text{UCB}^{a}$ allows every agent to additionally use the observations from the other agents to accelerate exploration (without sharing raw observations), while $\text{UCB}^{b}$ uses an NN with aggregated parameters for reward prediction in a similar way to federated averaging for supervised learning. Notably, the weight between the two UCBs required by our theoretical analysis is amenable to an interesting interpretation, which emphasizes $\text{UCB}^{a}$ initially for accelerated exploration and relies more on $\text{UCB}^{b}$ later after enough observations have been collected to train the NNs for accurate reward prediction (i.e., reliable exploitation). We prove sub-linear upper bounds on both the cumulative regret and the number of communication rounds of FN-UCB, and empirically demonstrate its competitive performance.
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