Optimal Odd Arm Identification with Fixed Confidence

12/11/2017 ∙ by Gayathri R Prabhu, et al. ∙ 0

The problem of detecting an odd arm from a set of K arms of a multi-armed bandit, with fixed confidence, is studied in a sequential decision-making scenario. Each arm's signal follows a distribution from a vector exponential family. All arms have the same parameters except the odd arm. The actual parameters of the odd and non-odd arms are unknown to the decision maker. Further, the decision maker incurs a cost whenever the decision maker switches from one arm to another. This is a sequential decision making problem where the decision maker gets only a limited view of the true state of nature at each stage, but can control his view by choosing the arm to observe at each stage. Of interest are policies that satisfy a given constraint on the probability of false detection. An information-theoretic lower bound on the total cost (expected time for a reliable decision plus total switching cost) is first identified, and a variation on a sequential policy based on the generalised likelihood ratio statistic is then studied. Thanks to the vector exponential family assumption, the signal processing in this policy at each stage turns out to be very simple, in that the associated conjugate prior enables easy updates of the posterior distribution of the model parameters. The policy, with a suitable threshold, is shown to satisfy the given constraint on the probability of false detection. Further, the proposed policy is asymptotically optimal in terms of the total cost among all policies that satisfy the constraint on the probability of false detection



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