Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)
Nir Levine, Koby Crammer, Shie Mannor
The Multi-Armed Bandits (MAB) framework highlights the trade-off between acquiring new knowledge (Exploration) and leveraging available knowledge (Exploitation). In the classical MAB problem, a decision maker must choose an arm at each time step, upon which she receives a reward. The decision maker's objective is to maximize her cumulative expected reward over the time horizon. The MAB problem has been studied extensively, specifically under the assumption of the arms' rewards distributions being stationary, or quasi-stationary, over time. We consider a variant of the MAB framework, which we termed Rotting Bandits, where each arm's expected reward decays as a function of the number of times it has been pulled. We are motivated by many real-world scenarios such as online advertising, content recommendation, crowdsourcing, and more. We present algorithms, accompanied by simulations, and derive theoretical guarantees.