Optimal Algorithms for Latent Bandits with Cluster Structure

Soumyabrata Pal


We consider the problem of latent bandits with cluster structure where there are multiple users, each with an associated multi-armed bandit problem. These users are grouped into \emph{latent} clusters such that the mean reward vectors of users within the same cluster are identical. At each round, a user, selected uniformly at random, pulls an arm and observes a corresponding noisy reward. The goal of the users is to maximize their cumulative rewards. This problem is central to practical recommendation systems and has received wide attention of late \cite{gentile2014online, maillard2014latent}. Now, if each user acts independently, then they would have to explore each arm independently and a regret of $Ω(\sqrt{MNT})$ is unavoidable, where ?,? are the number of arms and users, respectively. Instead, we propose LATTICE (Latent bAndiTs via maTrIx ComplEtion) which allows exploitation of the latent cluster structure to provide the minimax optimal regret of $\tilde{O}(\sqrt{(M+N)T})$, when the number of clusters is $\tilde{O}(1)$. This is the first algorithm to guarantee such strong regret bound. LATTICE is based on a careful exploitation of arm information within a cluster while simultaneously clustering users. Furthermore, it is computationally efficient and requires only O(log?) calls to an offline matrix completion oracle across all ? rounds.