Combinatorial Causal Bandits


  • Shi Feng Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
  • Wei Chen Microsoft Research, Beijing, China



ML: Online Learning & Bandits, RU: Causality


In combinatorial causal bandits (CCB), the learning agent chooses at most K variables in each round to intervene, collects feedback from the observed variables, with the goal of minimizing expected regret on the target variable Y. We study under the context of binary generalized linear models (BGLMs) with a succinct parametric representation of the causal models. We present the algorithm BGLM-OFU for Markovian BGLMs (i.e., no hidden variables) based on the maximum likelihood estimation method and give regret analysis for it. For the special case of linear models with hidden variables, we apply causal inference techniques such as the do calculus to convert the original model into a Markovian model, and then show that our BGLM-OFU algorithm and another algorithm based on the linear regression both solve such linear models with hidden variables. Our novelty includes (a) considering the combinatorial intervention action space and the general causal graph structures including ones with hidden variables, (b) integrating and adapting techniques from diverse studies such as generalized linear bandits and online influence maximization, and (c) avoiding unrealistic assumptions (such as knowing the joint distribution of the parents of Y under all interventions) and regret factors exponential to causal graph size in prior studies.




How to Cite

Feng, S., & Chen, W. (2023). Combinatorial Causal Bandits. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 37(6), 7550-7558.



AAAI Technical Track on Machine Learning I