Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interactions among rational agents. Language is a key medium of interaction for humans, though it has historically proven difficult to model dialogue and its strategic motivations mathematically. A suitable model of the players, strategies, and payoffs associated with linguistic interactions (i.e., a binding to the conventional symbolic logic of game theory) would enable existing game-theoretic algorithms to provide strategic solutions in the space of language. In other words, a binding could provide a route to computing stable, rational conversational strategies in dialogue. Large language models (LLMs) have arguably reached a point where their generative capabilities can enable realistic, human-like simulations of natural dialogue. By prompting them in various ways, we can steer their responses towards different output utterances. Leveraging the expressivity of natural language, LLMs can also help us quickly generate new dialogue scenarios, which are grounded in real world applications. In this work, we present one possible binding from dialogue to game theory as well as generalizations of existing equilibrium finding algorithms to this setting. In addition, by exploiting LLMs generation capabilities along with our proposed binding, we can synthesize a large repository of formally-defined games in which one can study and test game-theoretic solution concepts. We also demonstrate how one can combine LLM-driven game generation, game-theoretic solvers, and imitation learning to construct a process for improving the strategic capabilities of LLMs.
We study computationally efficient methods for finding equilibria in n-player general-sum games, specifically ones that afford complex visuomotor skills. We show how existing methods would struggle in this setting, either computationally or in theory. We then introduce NeuPL-JPSRO, a neural population learning algorithm that benefits from transfer learning of skills and converges to a Coarse Correlated Equilibrium (CCE) of the game. We show empirical convergence in a suite of OpenSpiel games, validated rigorously by exact game solvers. We then deploy NeuPL-JPSRO to complex domains, where our approach enables adaptive coordination in a MuJoCo control domain and skill transfer in capture-the-flag. Our work shows that equilibrium convergent population learning can be implemented at scale and in generality, paving the way towards solving real-world games between heterogeneous players with mixed motives.
We argue that many general evaluation problems can be viewed through the lens of voting theory. Each task is interpreted as a separate voter, which requires only ordinal rankings or pairwise comparisons of agents to produce an overall evaluation. By viewing the aggregator as a social welfare function, we are able to leverage centuries of research in social choice theory to derive principled evaluation frameworks with axiomatic foundations. These evaluations are interpretable and flexible, while avoiding many of the problems currently facing cross-task evaluation. We apply this Voting-as-Evaluation (VasE) framework across multiple settings, including reinforcement learning, large language models, and humans. In practice, we observe that VasE can be more robust than popular evaluation frameworks (Elo and Nash averaging), discovers properties in the evaluation data not evident from scores alone, and can predict outcomes better than Elo in a complex seven-player game. We identify one particular approach, maximal lotteries, that satisfies important consistency properties relevant to evaluation, is computationally efficient (polynomial in the size of the evaluation data), and identifies game-theoretic cycles.
Multiagent reinforcement learning (MARL) has benefited significantly from population-based and game-theoretic training regimes. One approach, Policy-Space Response Oracles (PSRO), employs standard reinforcement learning to compute response policies via approximate best responses and combines them via meta-strategy selection. We augment PSRO by adding a novel search procedure with generative sampling of world states, and introduce two new meta-strategy solvers based on the Nash bargaining solution. We evaluate PSRO's ability to compute approximate Nash equilibrium, and its performance in two negotiation games: Colored Trails, and Deal or No Deal. We conduct behavioral studies where human participants negotiate with our agents ($N = 346$). We find that search with generative modeling finds stronger policies during both training time and test time, enables online Bayesian co-player prediction, and can produce agents that achieve comparable social welfare negotiating with humans as humans trading among themselves.
Solution concepts such as Nash Equilibria, Correlated Equilibria, and Coarse Correlated Equilibria are useful components for many multiagent machine learning algorithms. Unfortunately, solving a normal-form game could take prohibitive or non-deterministic time to converge, and could fail. We introduce the Neural Equilibrium Solver which utilizes a special equivariant neural network architecture to approximately solve the space of all games of fixed shape, buying speed and determinism. We define a flexible equilibrium selection framework, that is capable of uniquely selecting an equilibrium that minimizes relative entropy, or maximizes welfare. The network is trained without needing to generate any supervised training data. We show remarkable zero-shot generalization to larger games. We argue that such a network is a powerful component for many possible multiagent algorithms.
Rating strategies in a game is an important area of research in game theory and artificial intelligence, and can be applied to any real-world competitive or cooperative setting. Traditionally, only transitive dependencies between strategies have been used to rate strategies (e.g. Elo), however recent work has expanded ratings to utilize game theoretic solutions to better rate strategies in non-transitive games. This work generalizes these ideas and proposes novel algorithms suitable for N-player, general-sum rating of strategies in normal-form games according to the payoff rating system. This enables well-established solution concepts, such as equilibria, to be leveraged to efficiently rate strategies in games with complex strategic interactions, which arise in multiagent training and real-world interactions between many agents. We empirically validate our methods on real world normal-form data (Premier League) and multiagent reinforcement learning agent evaluation.
The Game Theory & Multi-Agent team at DeepMind studies several aspects of multi-agent learning ranging from computing approximations to fundamental concepts in game theory to simulating social dilemmas in rich spatial environments and training 3-d humanoids in difficult team coordination tasks. A signature aim of our group is to use the resources and expertise made available to us at DeepMind in deep reinforcement learning to explore multi-agent systems in complex environments and use these benchmarks to advance our understanding. Here, we summarise the recent work of our team and present a taxonomy that we feel highlights many important open challenges in multi-agent research.
Learning to play optimally against any mixture over a diverse set of strategies is of important practical interests in competitive games. In this paper, we propose simplex-NeuPL that satisfies two desiderata simultaneously: i) learning a population of strategically diverse basis policies, represented by a single conditional network; ii) using the same network, learn best-responses to any mixture over the simplex of basis policies. We show that the resulting conditional policies incorporate prior information about their opponents effectively, enabling near optimal returns against arbitrary mixture policies in a game with tractable best-responses. We verify that such policies behave Bayes-optimally under uncertainty and offer insights in using this flexibility at test time. Finally, we offer evidence that learning best-responses to any mixture policies is an effective auxiliary task for strategic exploration, which, by itself, can lead to more performant populations.
Learning in strategy games (e.g. StarCraft, poker) requires the discovery of diverse policies. This is often achieved by iteratively training new policies against existing ones, growing a policy population that is robust to exploit. This iterative approach suffers from two issues in real-world games: a) under finite budget, approximate best-response operators at each iteration needs truncating, resulting in under-trained good-responses populating the population; b) repeated learning of basic skills at each iteration is wasteful and becomes intractable in the presence of increasingly strong opponents. In this work, we propose Neural Population Learning (NeuPL) as a solution to both issues. NeuPL offers convergence guarantees to a population of best-responses under mild assumptions. By representing a population of policies within a single conditional model, NeuPL enables transfer learning across policies. Empirically, we show the generality, improved performance and efficiency of NeuPL across several test domains. Most interestingly, we show that novel strategies become more accessible, not less, as the neural population expands.