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Near-optimal inference in adaptive linear regression

07/05/2021
by   Koulik Khamaru, et al.
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When data is collected in an adaptive manner, even simple methods like ordinary least squares can exhibit non-normal asymptotic behavior. As an undesirable consequence, hypothesis tests and confidence intervals based on asymptotic normality can lead to erroneous results. We propose an online debiasing estimator to correct these distributional anomalies in least squares estimation. Our proposed method takes advantage of the covariance structure present in the dataset and provides sharper estimates in directions for which more information has accrued. We establish an asymptotic normality property for our proposed online debiasing estimator under mild conditions on the data collection process, and provide asymptotically exact confidence intervals. We additionally prove a minimax lower bound for the adaptive linear regression problem, thereby providing a baseline by which to compare estimators. There are various conditions under which our proposed estimator achieves the minimax lower bound up to logarithmic factors. We demonstrate the usefulness of our theory via applications to multi-armed bandit, autoregressive time series estimation, and active learning with exploration.

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