Optimal Testing in the Experiment-rich Regime

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Sven Schmit, Virag Shah, Ramesh Johari ;
Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, PMLR 89:626-633, 2019.

Abstract

Motivated by the widespread adoption of large-scale A/B testing in industry, we propose a new experimentation framework for the setting where potential experiments are abundant (i.e., many hypotheses are available to test), and observations are costly; we refer to this as the experiment-rich regime. Such scenarios require the experimenter to internalize the opportunity cost of assigning a sample to a particular experiment. We fully characterize the optimal policy and give an algorithm to compute it. Furthermore, we develop a simple heuristic that also provides intuition for the optimal policy. We use simulations based on real data to compare both the optimal algorithm and the heuristic to other natural alternative experimental design frameworks. In particular, we discuss the paradox of power: high-powered "classical" tests can lead to highly inefficient sampling in the experiment-rich regime.

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