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# Efficient Kernelized UCB for Contextual Bandits

*Proceedings of The 25th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics*, PMLR 151:5689-5720, 2022.

#### Abstract

In this paper, we tackle the computational efficiency of kernelized UCB algorithms in contextual bandits. While standard methods require a $\mathcal{O}(CT^3)$ complexity where $T$ is the horizon and the constant $C$ is related to optimizing the UCB rule, we propose an efficient contextual algorithm for large-scale problems. Specifically, our method relies on incremental Nyström approximations of the joint kernel embedding of contexts and actions. This allows us to achieve a complexity of $\mathcal{O}(CTm^2)$ where $m$ is the number of Nyström points. To recover the same regret as the standard kernelized UCB algorithm, $m$ needs to be of order of the effective dimension of the problem, which is at most $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{T})$ and nearly constant in some cases.