Federated Offline Policy Learning with Heterogeneous Observational Data

Aldo Gael Carranza, Susan Athey

We consider the problem of learning personalized decision policies on observational data from heterogeneous data sources. Moreover, we examine this problem in the federated setting where a central server aims to learn a policy on the data distributed across the heterogeneous sources without exchanging their raw data. We present a federated policy learning algorithm based on aggregation of local policies trained with doubly robust offline policy evaluation and learning strategies. We provide a novel regret analysis for our approach that establishes a finite-sample upper bound on a notion of global regret across a distribution of clients. In addition, for any individual client, we establish a corresponding local regret upper bound characterized by the presence of distribution shift relative to all other clients. We support our theoretical findings with experimental results. Our analysis and experiments provide insights into the value of heterogeneous client participation in federation for policy learning in heterogeneous settings.

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