Towards a Pretrained Model for Restless Bandits via Multi-arm Generalization


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Restless multi-arm bandits (RMABs), a class of resource allocation problems with broad application in areas such as healthcare, online advertising, and anti-poaching, have recently been studied from a multi-agent reinforcement learning perspective. Prior RMAB research suffers from several limitations, e.g., it fails to adequately address continuous states, and requires retraining from scratch when arms opt-in and opt-out over time, a common challenge in many real world applications. We address these limitations by developing a neural network-based pre-trained model (PreFeRMAB) that has general zero-shot ability on a wide range of previously unseen RMABs, and which can be fine-tuned on specific instances in a more sample-efficient way than retraining from scratch. Our model also accommodates general multi-action settings and discrete or continuous state spaces. To enable fast generalization, we learn a novel single policy network model that utilizes feature information and employs a training procedure in which arms opt-in and out over time. We derive a new update rule for a crucial λ-network with theoretical convergence guarantees and empirically demonstrate the advantages of our approach on several challenging, real-world inspired problems.
zero shot learning,shot learning,multi-armed
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