Sparsified Linear Programming for Zero-Sum Equilibrium Finding

Jul 12, 2020



Computational equilibrium finding in large zero-sum extensive-form imperfect-information games has led to significant recent AI breakthroughs. The fastest algorithms for the problem are new forms of counterfactual regret minimization (Brown Sandholm, 2019). In this paper we present a totally different approach to the problem, which is competitive and often orders of magnitude better than the prior state of the art. The equilibrium-finding problem can be formulated as a linear program (LP) (Koller et al., 1994), but solving it as an LP has not been scalable due to the memory requirements of LP solvers, which can often be quadratically worse than CFR-based algorithms. We give an efficient practical algorithm that factors a large payoff matrix into a product of two matrices that are typically dramatically sparser. This allows us to express the equilibrium-finding problem as a linear program with size only a logarithmic factor worse than CFR, and thus allows linear program solvers to run on such games. With experiments on poker endgames, we demonstrate in practice, for the first time, that modern linear program solvers are competitive against even game-specific modern variants of CFR in solving large extensive-form games, and can be used to compute exact solutions unlike iterative algorithms like CFR.


About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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