Multi-Player Bandits – a Musical Chairs Approach

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Jonathan Rosenski, Ohad Shamir, Liran Szlak ;
Proceedings of The 33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 48:155-163, 2016.

Abstract

We consider a variant of the stochastic multi-armed bandit problem, where multiple players simultaneously choose from the same set of arms and may collide, receiving no reward. This setting has been motivated by problems arising in cognitive radio networks, and is especially challenging under the realistic assumption that communication between players is limited. We provide a communication-free algorithm (Musical Chairs) which attains constant regret with high probability, as well as a sublinear-regret, communication-free algorithm (Dynamic Musical Chairs) for the more difficult setting of players dynamically entering and leaving throughout the game. Moreover, both algorithms do not require prior knowledge of the number of players. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first communication-free algorithms with these types of formal guarantees.

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