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Reduced Space and Faster Convergence in Imperfect-Information Games via Pruning
Noam Brown · Tuomas Sandholm

Mon Aug 07 10:48 PM -- 11:06 PM (PDT) @ C4.5

Iterative algorithms such as Counterfactual Regret Minimization (CFR) are the most popular way to solve large zero-sum imperfect-information games. In this paper we introduce Best-Response Pruning (BRP), an improvement to iterative algorithms such as CFR that allows poorly-performing actions to be temporarily pruned. We prove that when using CFR in zero-sum games, adding BRP will asymptotically prune any action that is not part of a best response to some Nash equilibrium. This leads to provably faster convergence and lower space requirements. Experiments show that BRP results in a factor of 7 reduction in space, and the reduction factor increases with game size.

Author Information

Noam Brown (Carnegie Mellon University)
Tuomas Sandholm (Carnegie Mellon University)

Tuomas Sandholm is Angel Jordan Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He is Founder and Director of the Electronic Marketplaces Laboratory. He has published over 450 papers. With his student Vince Conitzer, he initiated the study of automated mechanism design in 2001. In parallel with his academic career, he was Founder, Chairman, and CTO/Chief Scientist of CombineNet, Inc. from 1997 until its acquisition in 2010. During this period the company commercialized over 800 of the world's largest-scale generalized combinatorial multi-attribute auctions, with over $60 billion in total spend and over $6 billion in generated savings. He is Founder and CEO of Optimized Markets, Strategic Machine, and Strategy Robot. Also, his algorithms run the UNOS kidney exchange, which includes 69% of the transplant centers in the US. He has developed the leading algorithms for several general classes of game. The team that he leads is the two-time world champion in computer Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker, and Libratus became the first and only AI to beat top humans at that game. Among his many honors are the NSF Career Award, inaugural ACM Autonomous Agents Research Award, Sloan Fellowship, Carnegie Science Center Award for Excellence, Edelman Laureateship, Newell Award for Research Excellence, and Computers and Thought Award. He is Fellow of the ACM, AAAI, and INFORMS. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich.

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