[edit]

# Combinatorial Neural Bandits

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:14203-14236, 2023.

#### Abstract

We consider a contextual combinatorial bandit problem where in each round a learning agent selects a subset of arms and receives feedback on the selected arms according to their scores. The score of an arm is an unknown function of the arm’s feature. Approximating this unknown score function with deep neural networks, we propose algorithms: Combinatorial Neural UCB ($\texttt{CN-UCB}$) and Combinatorial Neural Thompson Sampling ($\texttt{CN-TS}$). We prove that $\texttt{CN-UCB}$ achieves $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(\tilde{d} \sqrt{T})$ or $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(\sqrt{\tilde{d} T K})$ regret, where $\tilde{d}$ is the effective dimension of a neural tangent kernel matrix, $K$ is the size of a subset of arms, and $T$ is the time horizon. For $\texttt{CN-TS}$, we adapt an optimistic sampling technique to ensure the optimism of the sampled combinatorial action, achieving a worst-case (frequentist) regret of $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(\tilde{d} \sqrt{TK})$. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first combinatorial neural bandit algorithms with regret performance guarantees. In particular, $\texttt{CN-TS}$ is the first Thompson sampling algorithm with the worst-case regret guarantees for the general contextual combinatorial bandit problem. The numerical experiments demonstrate the superior performances of our proposed algorithms.