Approachability in unknown games: Online learning meets multi-objective optimization


Shie Mannor, Vianney Perchet, Gilles Stoltz ;
Proceedings of The 27th Conference on Learning Theory, PMLR 35:339-355, 2014.


In the standard setting of approachability there are two players and a target set. The players play a repeated vector-valued game where one of them wants to have the average vector-valued payoff converge to the target set which the other player tries to exclude. We revisit the classical setting and consider the setting where the player has a preference relation between target sets: she wishes to approach the smallest (“best”) set possible given the observed average payoffs in hindsight. Moreover, as opposed to previous works on approachability, and in the spirit of online learning, we do not assume that there is a known game structure with actions for two players. Rather, the player receives an arbitrary vector-valued reward vector at every round. We show that it is impossible, in general, to approach the best target set in hindsight. We further propose a concrete strategy that approaches a non-trivial relaxation of the best-in-hindsight given the actual rewards. Our approach does not require projection onto a target set and amounts to switching between scalar regret minimization algorithms that are performed in episodes.

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