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Abstract:Mean field type games (MFTGs) describe Nash equilibria between large coalitions: each coalition consists of a continuum of cooperative agents who maximize the average reward of their coalition while interacting non-cooperatively with a finite number of other coalitions. Although the theory has been extensively developed, we are still lacking efficient and scalable computational methods. Here, we develop reinforcement learning methods for such games in a finite space setting with general dynamics and reward functions. We start by proving that MFTG solution yields approximate Nash equilibria in finite-size coalition games. We then propose two algorithms. The first is based on quantization of the mean-field spaces and Nash Q-learning. We provide convergence and stability analysis. We then propose an deep reinforcement learning algorithm, which can scale to larger spaces. Numerical examples on 5 environments show the scalability and the efficiency of the proposed method.

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Abstract:We propose and compare new global solution algorithms for continuous time heterogeneous agent economies with aggregate shocks. First, we approximate the agent distribution so that equilibrium in the economy can be characterized by a high, but finite, dimensional non-linear partial differential equation. We consider different approximations: discretizing the number of agents, discretizing the agent state variables, and projecting the distribution onto a finite set of basis functions. Second, we represent the value function using a neural network and train it to solve the differential equation using deep learning tools. We refer to the solution as an Economic Model Informed Neural Network (EMINN). The main advantage of this technique is that it allows us to find global solutions to high dimensional, non-linear problems. We demonstrate our algorithm by solving important models in the macroeconomics and spatial literatures (e.g. Krusell and Smith (1998), Khan and Thomas (2007), Bilal (2023)).

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Abstract:Mean Field Control Games (MFCG), introduced in [Angiuli et al., 2022a], represent competitive games between a large number of large collaborative groups of agents in the infinite limit of number and size of groups. In this paper, we prove the convergence of a three-timescale Reinforcement Q-Learning (RL) algorithm to solve MFCG in a model-free approach from the point of view of representative agents. Our analysis uses a Q-table for finite state and action spaces updated at each discrete time-step over an infinite horizon. In [Angiuli et al., 2023], we proved convergence of two-timescale algorithms for MFG and MFC separately highlighting the need to follow multiple population distributions in the MFC case. Here, we integrate this feature for MFCG as well as three rates of update decreasing to zero in the proper ratios. Our technique of proof uses a generalization to three timescales of the two-timescale analysis in [Borkar, 1997]. We give a simple example satisfying the various hypothesis made in the proof of convergence and illustrating the performance of the algorithm.

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Abstract:We address in this paper Reinforcement Learning (RL) among agents that are grouped into teams such that there is cooperation within each team but general-sum (non-zero sum) competition across different teams. To develop an RL method that provably achieves a Nash equilibrium, we focus on a linear-quadratic structure. Moreover, to tackle the non-stationarity induced by multi-agent interactions in the finite population setting, we consider the case where the number of agents within each team is infinite, i.e., the mean-field setting. This results in a General-Sum LQ Mean-Field Type Game (GS-MFTGs). We characterize the Nash equilibrium (NE) of the GS-MFTG, under a standard invertibility condition. This MFTG NE is then shown to be $\mathcal{O}(1/M)$-NE for the finite population game where $M$ is a lower bound on the number of agents in each team. These structural results motivate an algorithm called Multi-player Receding-horizon Natural Policy Gradient (MRPG), where each team minimizes its cumulative cost independently in a receding-horizon manner. Despite the non-convexity of the problem, we establish that the resulting algorithm converges to a global NE through a novel problem decomposition into sub-problems using backward recursive discrete-time Hamilton-Jacobi-Isaacs (HJI) equations, in which independent natural policy gradient is shown to exhibit linear convergence under time-independent diagonal dominance. Experiments illuminate the merits of this approach in practice.

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Abstract:This paper proposes and analyzes two neural network methods to solve the master equation for finite-state mean field games (MFGs). Solving MFGs provides approximate Nash equilibria for stochastic, differential games with finite but large populations of agents. The master equation is a partial differential equation (PDE) whose solution characterizes MFG equilibria for any possible initial distribution. The first method we propose relies on backward induction in a time component while the second method directly tackles the PDE without discretizing time. For both approaches, we prove two types of results: there exist neural networks that make the algorithms' loss functions arbitrarily small, and conversely, if the losses are small, then the neural networks are good approximations of the master equation's solution. We conclude the paper with numerical experiments on benchmark problems from the literature up to dimension 15, and a comparison with solutions computed by a classical method for fixed initial distributions.

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Abstract:Graphon games have been introduced to study games with many players who interact through a weighted graph of interaction. By passing to the limit, a game with a continuum of players is obtained, in which the interactions are through a graphon. In this paper, we focus on a graphon game for optimal investment under relative performance criteria, and we propose a deep learning method. The method builds upon two key ingredients: first, a characterization of Nash equilibria by forward-backward stochastic differential equations and, second, recent advances of machine learning algorithms for stochastic differential games. We provide numerical experiments on two different financial models. In each model, we compare the effect of several graphons, which correspond to different structures of interactions.

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Abstract:Recent techniques based on Mean Field Games (MFGs) allow the scalable analysis of multi-player games with many similar, rational agents. However, standard MFGs remain limited to homogeneous players that weakly influence each other, and cannot model major players that strongly influence other players, severely limiting the class of problems that can be handled. We propose a novel discrete time version of major-minor MFGs (M3FGs), along with a learning algorithm based on fictitious play and partitioning the probability simplex. Importantly, M3FGs generalize MFGs with common noise and can handle not only random exogeneous environment states but also major players. A key challenge is that the mean field is stochastic and not deterministic as in standard MFGs. Our theoretical investigation verifies both the M3FG model and its algorithmic solution, showing firstly the well-posedness of the M3FG model starting from a finite game of interest, and secondly convergence and approximation guarantees of the fictitious play algorithm. Then, we empirically verify the obtained theoretical results, ablating some of the theoretical assumptions made, and show successful equilibrium learning in three example problems. Overall, we establish a learning framework for a novel and broad class of tractable games.

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Abstract:We explore the problem of imitation learning (IL) in the context of mean-field games (MFGs), where the goal is to imitate the behavior of a population of agents following a Nash equilibrium policy according to some unknown payoff function. IL in MFGs presents new challenges compared to single-agent IL, particularly when both the reward function and the transition kernel depend on the population distribution. In this paper, departing from the existing literature on IL for MFGs, we introduce a new solution concept called the Nash imitation gap. Then we show that when only the reward depends on the population distribution, IL in MFGs can be reduced to single-agent IL with similar guarantees. However, when the dynamics is population-dependent, we provide a novel upper-bound that suggests IL is harder in this setting. To address this issue, we propose a new adversarial formulation where the reinforcement learning problem is replaced by a mean-field control (MFC) problem, suggesting progress in IL within MFGs may have to build upon MFC.

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Abstract:Stochastic optimal control and games have found a wide range of applications, from finance and economics to social sciences, robotics and energy management. Many real-world applications involve complex models which have driven the development of sophisticated numerical methods. Recently, computational methods based on machine learning have been developed for stochastic control problems and games. We review such methods, with a focus on deep learning algorithms that have unlocked the possibility to solve such problems even when the dimension is high or when the structure is very complex, beyond what is feasible with traditional numerical methods. Here, we consider mostly the continuous time and continuous space setting. Many of the new approaches build on recent neural-network based methods for high-dimensional partial differential equations or backward stochastic differential equations, or on model-free reinforcement learning for Markov decision processes that have led to breakthrough results. In this paper we provide an introduction to these methods and summarize state-of-the-art works on machine learning for stochastic control and games.

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Abstract:We study policy gradient for mean-field control in continuous time in a reinforcement learning setting. By considering randomised policies with entropy regularisation, we derive a gradient expectation representation of the value function, which is amenable to actor-critic type algorithms, where the value functions and the policies are learnt alternately based on observation samples of the state and model-free estimation of the population state distribution, either by offline or online learning. In the linear-quadratic mean-field framework, we obtain an exact parametrisation of the actor and critic functions defined on the Wasserstein space. Finally, we illustrate the results of our algorithms with some numerical experiments on concrete examples.

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