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Learning Algorithms for Minimizing Queue Length Regret

by   Thomas Stahlbuhk, et al.

We consider a system consisting of a single transmitter/receiver pair and N channels over which they may communicate. Packets randomly arrive to the transmitter's queue and wait to be successfully sent to the receiver. The transmitter may attempt a frame transmission on one channel at a time, where each frame includes a packet if one is in the queue. For each channel, an attempted transmission is successful with an unknown probability. The transmitter's objective is to quickly identify the best channel to minimize the number of packets in the queue over T time slots. To analyze system performance, we introduce queue length regret, which is the expected difference between the total queue length of a learning policy and a controller that knows the rates, a priori. One approach to designing a transmission policy would be to apply algorithms from the literature that solve the closely-related stochastic multi-armed bandit problem. These policies would focus on maximizing the number of successful frame transmissions over time. However, we show that these methods have Ω(logT) queue length regret. On the other hand, we show that there exists a set of queue-length based policies that can obtain order optimal O(1) queue length regret. We use our theoretical analysis to devise heuristic methods that are shown to perform well in simulation.


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