skip to main content


Title: Hindsight and Sequential Rationality of Correlated Play
Driven by recent successes in two-player, zero-sum game solving and playing, artificial intelligence work on games has increasingly focused on algorithms that produce equilibrium-based strategies. However, this approach has been less effective at producing competent players in general-sum games or those with more than two players than in two-player, zero-sum games. An appealing alternative is to consider adaptive algorithms that ensure strong performance in hindsight relative to what could have been achieved with modified behavior. This approach also leads to a game-theoretic analysis, but in the correlated play that arises from joint learning dynamics rather than factored agent behavior at equilibrium. We develop and advocate for this hindsight rationality framing of learning in general sequential decision-making settings. To this end, we re-examine mediated equilibrium and deviation types in extensive-form games, thereby gaining a more complete understanding and resolving past misconceptions. We present a set of examples illustrating the distinct strengths and weaknesses of each type of equilibrium in the literature, and prove that no tractable concept subsumes all others. This line of inquiry culminates in the definition of the deviation and equilibrium classes that correspond to algorithms in the counterfactual regret minimization (CFR) family, relating them to all others in the literature. Examining CFR in greater detail further leads to a new recursive definition of rationality in correlated play that extends sequential rationality in a way that naturally applies to hindsight evaluation.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1761546
NSF-PAR ID:
10290817
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence
ISSN:
2159-5399
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    Hindsight rationality is an approach to playing general-sum games that prescribes no-regret learning dynamics for individual agents with respect to a set of deviations, and further describes jointly rational behavior among multiple agents with mediated equilibria. To develop hindsight rational learning in sequential decision-making settings, we formalize behavioral deviations as a general class of deviations that respect the structure of extensive-form games. Integrating the idea of time selection into counterfactual regret minimization (CFR), we introduce the extensive-form regret minimization (EFR) algorithm that achieves hindsight rationality for any given set of behavioral deviations with computation that scales closely with the complexity of the set. We identify behavioral deviation subsets, the partial sequence deviation types, that subsume previously studied types and lead to efficient EFR instances in games with moderate lengths. In addition, we present a thorough empirical analysis of EFR instantiated with different deviation types in benchmark games, where we find that stronger types typically induce better performance. 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    The existence of simple uncoupled no-regret learning dynamics that converge to correlated equilibria in normal-form games is a celebrated result in the theory of multi-agent systems. Specifically, it has been known for more than 20 years that when all players seek to minimize their internal regret in a repeated normal-form game, the empirical frequency of play converges to a normal-form correlated equilibrium. Extensive-form games generalize normal-form games by modeling both sequential and simultaneous moves, as well as imperfect information. Because of the sequential nature and presence of private information in the game, correlation in extensive-form games possesses significantly different properties than its counterpart in normal-form games, many of which are still open research directions. Extensive-form correlated equilibrium (EFCE) has been proposed as the natural extensive-form counterpart to the classical notion of correlated equilibrium in normal-form games. Compared to the latter, the constraints that define the set of EFCEs are significantly more complex, as the correlation device must keep into account the evolution of beliefs of each player as they make observations throughout the game. Due to that significant added complexity, the existence of uncoupled learning dynamics leading to an EFCE has remained a challenging open research question for a long time. In this article, we settle that question by giving the first uncoupled no-regret dynamics that converge to the set of EFCEs in n-player general-sum extensive-form games with perfect recall. We show that each iterate can be computed in time polynomial in the size of the game tree, and that, when all players play repeatedly according to our learning dynamics, the empirical frequency of play is proven to be a O(T^-0.5)-approximate EFCE with high probability after T game repetitions, and an EFCE almost surely in the limit. 
    more » « less
  3. We develop provably efficient reinforcement learning algorithms for two-player zero-sum finite-horizon Markov games with simultaneous moves. To incorporate function approximation, we consider a family of Markov games where the reward function and transition kernel possess a linear structure. Both the offline and online settings of the problems are considered. In the offline setting, we control both players and aim to find the Nash equilibrium by minimizing the duality gap. In the online setting, we control a single player playing against an arbitrary opponent and aim to minimize the regret. For both settings, we propose an optimistic variant of the least-squares minimax value iteration algorithm. We show that our algorithm is computationally efficient and provably achieves an [Formula: see text] upper bound on the duality gap and regret, where d is the linear dimension, H the horizon and T the total number of timesteps. Our results do not require additional assumptions on the sampling model. Our setting requires overcoming several new challenges that are absent in Markov decision processes or turn-based Markov games. In particular, to achieve optimism with simultaneous moves, we construct both upper and lower confidence bounds of the value function, and then compute the optimistic policy by solving a general-sum matrix game with these bounds as the payoff matrices. As finding the Nash equilibrium of a general-sum game is computationally hard, our algorithm instead solves for a coarse correlated equilibrium (CCE), which can be obtained efficiently. To our best knowledge, such a CCE-based scheme for optimism has not appeared in the literature and might be of interest in its own right. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Regret minimization has proved to be a versatile tool for tree- form sequential decision making and extensive-form games. In large two-player zero-sum imperfect-information games, mod- ern extensions of counterfactual regret minimization (CFR) are currently the practical state of the art for computing a Nash equilibrium. Most regret-minimization algorithms for tree-form sequential decision making, including CFR, require (i) an exact model of the player’s decision nodes, observation nodes, and how they are linked, and (ii) full knowledge, at all times t, about the payoffs—even in parts of the decision space that are not encountered at time t. Recently, there has been growing interest towards relaxing some of those restric- tions and making regret minimization applicable to settings for which reinforcement learning methods have traditionally been used—for example, those in which only black-box access to the environment is available. We give the first, to our knowl- edge, regret-minimization algorithm that guarantees sublinear regret with high probability even when requirement (i)—and thus also (ii)—is dropped. We formalize an online learning setting in which the strategy space is not known to the agent and gets revealed incrementally whenever the agent encoun- ters new decision points. We give an efficient algorithm that achieves O(T 3/4) regret with high probability for that setting, even when the agent faces an adversarial environment. Our experiments show it significantly outperforms the prior algo- rithms for the problem, which do not have such guarantees. It can be used in any application for which regret minimization is useful: approximating Nash equilibrium or quantal response equilibrium, approximating coarse correlated equilibrium in multi-player games, learning a best response, learning safe opponent exploitation, and online play against an unknown opponent/environment. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    We study the following problem, which to our knowledge has been addressed only partially in the literature and not in full generality. An agent observes two players play a zero-sum game that is known to the players but not the agent. The agent observes the actions and state transitions of their game play, but not rewards. The players may play either op-timally (according to some Nash equilibrium) or according to any other solution concept, such as a quantal response equilibrium. Following these observations, the agent must recommend a policy for one player, say Player 1. The goal is to recommend a policy that is minimally exploitable un-der the true, but unknown, game. We take a Bayesian ap-proach. We establish a likelihood function based on obser-vations and the specified solution concept. We then propose an approach based on Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC), which allows us to approximately sample games from the agent’s posterior belief distribution. Once we have a batch of independent samples from the posterior, we use linear pro-gramming and backward induction to compute a policy for Player 1 that minimizes the sum of exploitabilities over these games. This approximates the policy that minimizes the ex-pected exploitability under the full distribution. Our approach is also capable of handling counterfactuals, where known modifications are applied to the unknown game. We show that our Bayesian MCMC-based technique outperforms two other techniques—one based on the equilibrium policy of the maximum-probability game and the other based on imitation of observed behavior—on all the tested stochastic game envi-ronments. 
    more » « less