Optimal Robust Policy for Feature-Based Newsvendor

We study policy optimization for the feature-based newsvendor, which seeks an end-to-end policy that renders an explicit mapping from features to ordering decisions. Unlike existing works that restrict the policies to some parametric class which may suffer from sub-optimality (such as affine class) or lack of interpretability (such as neural networks), we aim to optimize … Read more

Contextual Decision-making under Parametric Uncertainty and Data-driven Optimistic Optimization

We consider decision-making problems with contextual information, in which the reward function involves uncertain parameters that can be predicted using covariates. To quantify the uncertainty of the reward, we propose a new parameter uncertainty set based on a supervised learning oracle. We show that the worst/best-case reward over the proposed parameter uncertainty set serves as … Read more

Sinkhorn Distributionally Robust Optimization

We study distributionally robust optimization with Sinkorn distance—a variant of Wasserstein distance based on entropic regularization. We derive convex programming dual reformulations when the nominal distribution is an empirical distribution and a general distribution, respectively. Compared with Wasserstein DRO, it is computationally tractable for a larger class of loss functions, and its worst-case distribution is … Read more

Reliable Off-policy Evaluation for Reinforcement Learning

In a sequential decision-making problem, off-policy evaluation estimates the expected cumulative reward of a target policy using logged trajectory data generated from a different behavior policy, without execution of the target policy. Reinforcement learning in high-stake environments, such as healthcare and education, is often limited to off-policy settings due to safety or ethical concerns, or … Read more

Finite-Sample Guarantees for Wasserstein Distributionally Robust Optimization: Breaking the Curse of Dimensionality

Wasserstein distributionally robust optimization (DRO) aims to find robust and generalizable solutions by hedging against data perturbations in Wasserstein distance. Despite its recent empirical success in operations research and machine learning, existing performance guarantees for generic loss functions are either overly conservative due to the curse of dimensionality, or plausible only in large sample asymptotics. … Read more

Wasserstein Distributionally Robust Optimization and Variation Regularization

Wasserstein distributionally robust optimization (DRO) has recently achieved empirical success for various applications in operations research and machine learning, owing partly to its regularization effect. Although the connection between Wasserstein DRO and regularization has been established in several settings, existing results often require restrictive assumptions, such as smoothness or convexity, that are not satisfied by … Read more

Distributionally Robust Stochastic Optimization with Dependence Structure

Distributionally robust stochastic optimization (DRSO) is a framework for decision-making problems under certainty, which finds solutions that perform well for a chosen set of probability distributions. Many different approaches for specifying a set of distributions have been proposed. The choice matters, because it affects the results, and the relative performance of different choices depend on … Read more

Distributionally Robust Stochastic Optimization with Wasserstein Distance

Distributionally robust stochastic optimization (DRSO) is an approach to optimization under uncertainty in which, instead of assuming that there is an underlying probability distribution that is known exactly, one hedges against a chosen set of distributions. In this paper, we consider sets of distributions that are within a chosen Wasserstein distance from a nominal distribution. … Read more