Volumetric Spanners: an Efficient Exploration Basis for Learning


Elad Hazan, Zohar Karnin, Raghu Meka ;
Proceedings of The 27th Conference on Learning Theory, PMLR 35:408-422, 2014.


Numerous machine learning problems require an \it exploration basis - a mechanism to explore the action space. We define a novel geometric notion of exploration basis with low variance called volumetric spanners, and give efficient algorithms to construct such bases. We show how efficient volumetric spanners give rise to an efficient and near-optimal regret algorithm for bandit linear optimization over general convex sets. Previously such results were known only for specific convex sets, or under special conditions such as the existence of an efficient self-concordant barrier for the underlying set.

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