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"People are still randomly assigned to one of the conditions in the MAB scheme"

No, they're only partially randomly assigned to one of the conditions. MAB has a memory based on what the results of the previous runs are, which is basically another way of phrasing that there's a dependence.




I'm not so sure. By that logic, no experiment has random assignment. I know when I place subject X in condition Y that I do so because I need Z people in condition Y. Thus, I have some information about where I've placed other people. This is no different?


The point is that with bandit models, you're placing people in a cohort as a function of the previous conversion rate of your cohorts. That's the dependence.

By contrast, randomly allocating X% of your population to cohort C_i is not a dependence on anything but the free parameter (X).


The results will still be conditionally independent given the assignments, which is all you need to use the counts for estimation of a binomial .


"The results will still be conditionally independent given the assignments"

If the assignments are the source of the problem, you can't just take them as "given" and assume that things are OK.

A simpler example: if I assign people to cohorts based on their age, then the results of my experiment may be "conditionally independent" with respect to (say) eye color, but it probably won't be conditionally independent with respect to income or reading level or pant size. In other words, the assumption of independence is violated with respect to all variables correlated with age.

With bandit optimization, our bucket allocation scheme is correlated with time, which makes it nearly impossible to apply conventional statistical tests on any metric that may also be correlated with time. And in web testing, that's nearly everything.




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