Better Regularization for Sequential Decision Spaces: Fast Convergence Rates for Nash, Correlated, and Team Equilibria

Gabriele Farina, Christian Kroer, Tuomas Sandholm


We study the application of iterative first-order methods to the problem of computing equilibria of large-scale two-player extensive-form games. First-order methods must typically be instantiated with a regularizer that serves as a distance-generating function for the decision sets of the players. For the case of two-player zero-sum games, the state-of-the-art theoretical convergence rate for Nash equilibrium is achieved by using the dilated entropy function. In this paper, we introduce a new entropy-based distance-generating function for two-player zero-sum games, and show that this function achieves significantly better strong convexity properties than the dilated entropy, while maintaining the same easily-implemented closed-form proximal mapping. Extensive numerical simulations show that these superior theoretical properties translate into better numerical performance as well. We then generalize our new entropy distance function, as well as general dilated distance functions, to the scaled extension operator. The scaled extension operator is a way to recursively construct convex sets, which generalizes the decision polytope of extensive-form games, as well as the convex polytopes corresponding to correlated and team equilibria. By instantiating first-order methods with our regularizers, we develop the first accelerated first-order methods for computing correlated equilibra and ex-ante coordinated team equilibria. Our methods have a guaranteed $1/T$ rate of convergence, along with linear-time proximal updates.

Bibtex entry

@inproceedings{Farina21:Better, title={Better Regularization for Sequential Decision Spaces: Fast Convergence Rates for {N}ash, Correlated, and Team Equilibria}, author={Farina, Gabriele and Kroer, Christian and Sandholm, Tuomas}, booktitle={ACM Conference on Economics and Computation}, year={2021} }


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Venue: EC 2021
Topic: Decision Making, Optimization, and Computational Game Theory