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Exploiting hidden structures in non-convex games for convergence to Nash equilibrium

Iosif Sakos · Emmanouil-Vasileios Vlatakis-Gkaragkounis · Panayotis Mertikopoulos · Georgios Piliouras

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1703
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[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Tue 12 Dec 3:15 p.m. PST — 5:15 p.m. PST


A wide array of modern machine learning applications – from adversarial models to multi-agent reinforcement learning – can be formulated as non-cooperative games whose Nash equilibria represent the system’s desired operational states. Despite having a highly non-convex loss landscape, many cases of interest possess a latent convex structure that could potentially be leveraged to yield convergence to an equilibrium. Driven by this observation, our paper proposes a flexible first-order method that successfully exploits such “hidden structures” and achieves convergence under minimal assumptions for the transformation connecting the players’ control variables to the game’s latent, convex-structured layer. The proposed method – which we call preconditioned hidden gradient descent (PHGD) – hinges on a judiciously chosen gradient preconditioning scheme related to natural gradient methods. Importantly, we make no separability assumptions for the game’s hidden structure, and we provide explicit convergence rate guarantees for both deterministic and stochastic environments.

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