Bandit-feedback online multiclass classification: variants and tradeoffs

Yuval Filmus, Steve Hanneke, Idan Mehalel, Shay Moran

Consider the domain of multiclass classification within the adversarial online setting. What is the price of relying on bandit feedback as opposed to full information? To what extent can an adaptive adversary amplify the loss compared to an oblivious one? To what extent can a randomized learner reduce the loss compared to a deterministic one? We study these questions in the mistake bound model and provide nearly tight answers.

We demonstrate that the optimal mistake bound under bandit feedback is at most $O(k)$ times higher than the optimal mistake bound in the full information case, where k represents the number of labels. This bound is tight and provides an answer to an open question previously posed and studied by Daniely and Helbertal [’13] and by Long [’17, ’20], who focused on deterministic learners.

Moreover, we present nearly optimal bounds of $\tilde\Theta(k)$ on the gap between randomized and deterministic learners, as well as between adaptive and oblivious adversaries in the bandit feedback setting. This stands in contrast to the full information scenario, where adaptive and oblivious adversaries are equivalent, and the gap in mistake bounds between randomized and deterministic learners is a constant multiplicative factor of 2.

In addition, our results imply that in some cases the optimal randomized mistake bound is approximately the square-root of its deterministic parallel. Previous results show that this is essentially the smallest it can get.


 title = {Bandit-feedback online multiclass classification: variants and tradeoffs},
 author = {Yuval Filmus and Steve Hanneke and Idan Mehalel and Shay Moran},
 year = {2024},
 howpublished = {arXiv:2402.07453}
copy to clipboard