Statistical efficiency of Thompson sampling for combinatorial semi-bandits

Abstract

We investigate stochastic combinatorial multi-armed bandit with semi-bandit feedback (CMAB). In CMAB, the question of the existence of an efficient policy with an optimal asymptotic regret (up to a factor poly-logarithmic with the action size) is still open for many families of distributions, including mutually independent outcomes, and more generally the multivariate sub-Gaussian family. We propose to answer the above question for these two families by analyzing variants of the Combinatorial Thompson Sampling policy (CTS). For mutually independent outcomes in [0,1], we propose a tight analysis of CTS using Beta priors. We then look at the more general setting of multivariate sub-Gaussian outcomes and propose a tight analysis of CTS using Gaussian priors. This last result gives us an alternative to the Efficient Sampling for Combinatorial Bandit policy (ESCB), which, although optimal, is not computationally efficient.

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