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Gains and Losses are Fundamentally Different in Regret Minimization: The Sparse Case

Joon Kwon, Vianney Perchet; 17(227):1−32, 2016.


We demonstrate that, in the classical non-stochastic regret minimization problem with $d$ decisions, gains and losses to be respectively maximized or minimized are fundamentally different. Indeed, by considering the additional sparsity assumption (at each stage, at most $s$ decisions incur a nonzero outcome), we derive optimal regret bounds of different orders. Specifically, with gains, we obtain an optimal regret guarantee after $T$ stages of order $\sqrt{T\log s}$, so the classical dependency in the dimension is replaced by the sparsity size. With losses, we provide matching upper and lower bounds of order $\sqrt{Ts\log(d)/d}$, which is decreasing in $d$. Eventually, we also study the bandit setting, and obtain an upper bound of order $\sqrt{Ts\log (d/s)}$ when outcomes are losses. This bound is proven to be optimal up to the logarithmic factor $\sqrt{\log(d/s)}$.

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