[edit]

# Dynamical Linear Bandits

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:25563-25587, 2023.

#### Abstract

In many real-world sequential decision-making problems, an action does not immediately reflect on the feedback and spreads its effects over a long time frame. For instance, in online advertising, investing in a platform produces an instantaneous increase of awareness, but the actual reward, i.e., a conversion, might occur far in the future. Furthermore, whether a conversion takes place depends on: how fast the awareness grows, its vanishing effects, and the synergy or interference with other advertising platforms. Previous work has investigated the Multi-Armed Bandit framework with the possibility of delayed and aggregated feedback, without a particular structure on how an action propagates in the future, disregarding possible dynamical effects. In this paper, we introduce a novel setting, the Dynamical Linear Bandits (DLB), an extension of the linear bandits characterized by a hidden state. When an action is performed, the learner observes a noisy reward whose mean is a linear function of the hidden state and of the action. Then, the hidden state evolves according to linear dynamics, affected by the performed action too. We start by introducing the setting, discussing the notion of optimal policy, and deriving an expected regret lower bound. Then, we provide an optimistic regret minimization algorithm, Dynamical Linear Upper Confidence Bound (DynLin-UCB), that suffers an expected regret of order $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}} \Big( \frac{d \sqrt{T}}{(1-\overline{\rho})^{3/2}} \Big)$, where $\overline{\rho}$ is a measure of the stability of the system, and $d$ is the dimension of the action vector. Finally, we conduct a numerical validation on a synthetic environment and on real-world data to show the effectiveness of DynLin-UCB in comparison with several baselines.