[edit]

# Policy Mirror Ascent for Efficient and Independent Learning in Mean Field Games

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:39722-39754, 2023.

#### Abstract

Mean-field games have been used as a theoretical tool to obtain an approximate Nash equilibrium for symmetric and anonymous $N$-player games. However, limiting applicability, existing theoretical results assume variations of a “population generative model”, which allows arbitrary modifications of the population distribution by the learning algorithm. Moreover, learning algorithms typically work on abstract simulators with population instead of the $N$-player game. Instead, we show that $N$ agents running policy mirror ascent converge to the Nash equilibrium of the regularized game within $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\varepsilon^{-2})$ samples from a single sample trajectory without a population generative model, up to a standard $\mathcal{O}(\frac{1}{\sqrt{N}})$ error due to the mean field. Taking a divergent approach from the literature, instead of working with the best-response map we first show that a policy mirror ascent map can be used to construct a contractive operator having the Nash equilibrium as its fixed point. We analyze single-path TD learning for $N$-agent games, proving sample complexity guarantees by only using a sample path from the $N$-agent simulator without a population generative model. Furthermore, we demonstrate that our methodology allows for independent learning by $N$ agents with finite sample guarantees.