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Uri Zwick Tel Aviv University Simple Stochastic Games Mean Payoff Games Parity Games

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Zero sum games 12–3 0–5–52 17–2–2 Mixed strategies Max-min theorem …

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Stochastic games [Shapley (1953)] 12–3 0–5–52 17–2–2 3–7–7 2–4–4–1–1 4 –1–1 7 Mixed positional (memoryless) optimal strategies

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Simple Stochastic games (SSGs) 2 –5–5 7 2–4–4–1–1 4 –1–1 7 Every game has only one row or column Pure positional (memoryless) optimal strategies

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Simple Stochastic games (SSGs) Graphic representation M MAX min m RAND R The players construct an (infinite) path e 0,e 1,… Terminating version Non-terminating version Discounted version Fixed duration games easily solved using dynamic programming

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Simple Stochastic games (SSGs) Graphic representation – example MM m R MAX Start vertex min RAND

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Simple Stochastic game (SSGs) Reachability version [Condon (1992)] M MAX min m RAND R M 0-sink M 1-sink Objective: Max / Min the prob. of getting to the 1-sink Technical assumption: Game halts with prob. 1 No weights All prob. are ½

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Simple Stochastic games (SSGs) Basic properties Every vertex in the game has a value v Both players have positional optimal strategies Positional strategy for MAX: choice of an outgoing edge from each MAX vertex Decision version: Is value v

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“Solving” binary SSGs The values v i of the vertices of a game are the unique solution of the following equations: Corollary: Decision version in NP co-NP The values are rational numbers requiring only a linear number of bits

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Markov Decision Processes (MDPs) Values and optimal strategies of a MDP can be found by solving an LP Theorem: [Derman (1970)] M MAX min m RAND R

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NP co-NP – Another proof Deciding whether the value of a game is at least (at most) v is in NP co-NP To show that value v, guess an optimal strategy for MAX Find an optimal counter-strategy for min by solving the resulting MDP. Is the problem in P ?

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Mean Payoff Games (MPGs) [Ehrenfeucht, Mycielski (1979)] M MAX min m RAND R Non-terminating version Discounted version MPGs Reachability SSGs (PZ’96) Pseudo-polynomial algorithm (PZ’96)

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Mean Payoff Games (MPGs) [Ehrenfeucht, Mycielski (1979)] Value – average of the cycle

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Parity Games (PGs) EVEN 3 ODD 8 EVEN wins if largest priority seen infinitely often in even Equivalent to many interesting problems in automata and verification: Non-emptyness of -tree automata modal -calculus model checking Priorities

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Parity Games (PGs) EVEN 3 ODD 8 Chang priority k to payoff ( n) k Mean Payoff Games (MPGs) Move payoff to outgoing edges [Stirling (1993)] [Puri (1995)]

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Simple Stochastic games (SSGs) Additional properties An SSG is said to be binary if the outdegree of every non-sink vertex is 2 A switch is a change of a strategy at a single vertex A strategy is optimal iff no switch is profitable A switch is profitable for MAX if it increases the value of the game (sum of values of all vertices)

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Start with an arbitrary strategy for MAX Choose a random vertex i V MAX Find the optimal strategy ’ for MAX in the game in which the only outgoing edge from i is (i, (i)) If switching ’ at i is not profitable, then ’ is optimal Otherwise, let ( ’) i and repeat A randomized subexponential algorithm for binary SSGs [Ludwig (1995) ] [Kalai (1992) Matousek-Sharir-Welzl (1992) ]

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There is a hidden order of MAX vertices under which the optimal strategy returned by the first recursive call correctly fixes the strategy of MAX at vertices 1,2,…,i All correct ! Would never be switched ! MAX vertices

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Exponential algorithm for PGs [McNaughton (1993)] [Zielonka (1998)] Vertices of highest priority (even) Vertices from which EVEN can force the game to enter A First recursive call Second recursive call In the worst case, both recursive calls are on games of size n 1

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Deterministic subexponential alg for PGs Jurdzinski, Paterson, Z (2006) Second recursive call Dominion Idea: Look for small dominions! A (small) set from which one of the players can without the play ever leaving this set Dominions of size s can be found in O(n s ) time

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Open problems ● Polynomial algorithms? ● Faster subexponential algorithms for parity games? ● Deterministic subexponential algorithms for MPGs and SSGs? ● Faster pseudo-polynomial algorithms for MPGs?

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