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Title:
Restless bandits: Exploring and exploiting in a changing environment

Abstract:
Rather than reasoning about fully described decision problems, we often
have to learn to make decisions by taking actions and experiencing
their outcomes. In such situations, there is a dilemma between
choosing alternatives that we believe will provide good outcomes
("exploiting") and choosing alternatives in order to learn more about
their outcomes ("exploring"). How to balance exploration and
exploitation is a fundamental issue in reinforcement learning and
especially pertinent in volatile environments where the action-outcome
contingencies change over time. I will present two studies investigating
how people learn and make decisions in "restless bandit" tasks involving
repeated choices between multiple alternatives with changing
rewards, with a particular focus on the role of uncertainty in
exploration.

Host: Konstantinos Tsetsos

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