Aging wireless bandits: regret analysis and order-optimal learning algorithm
We consider a single-hop wireless network with sources transmitting time-sensitive information to the destination over multiple unreliable channels. Packets from each source are generated according to a stochastic process with known statistics and the state of each wireless channel (ON/OFF) varies according to a stochastic process with unknown statistics. The reliability of the wireless channels is to be learned through observation. At every time-slot, the learning algorithm selects a single pair (source, channel) and the selected source attempts to transmit its packet via the selected channel. The probability of a successful transmission to the destination depends on the reliability of the selected channel. The goal of the learning algorithm is to minimize the Age-of-Information (AoI) in the network over T time-slots. To analyze its performance, we introduce the notion of AoI-regret, which is the difference between the expected cumulative AoI of the learning algorithm under consideration and the expected cumulative AoI of a genie algorithm that knows the reliability of the channels a priori. The AoI-regret captures the penalty incurred by having to learn the statistics of the channels over the T time-slots. The results are two-fold: first, we consider learning algorithms that employ well-known solutions to the stochastic multi-armed bandit problem (such as ϵ-Greedy, Upper Confidence Bound, and Thompson Sampling) and show that their AoI-regret scales as Θ(log T); second, we develop a novel learning algorithm and show that it has O(1) regret. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first learning algorithm with bounded AoI-regret.