AAAI Publications, Thirty-First AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Faster and Simpler Algorithm for Optimal Strategies of Blotto Game
Soheil Behnezhad, Sina Dehghani, Mahsa Derakhshan, MohammadTaghi Hajiaghayi, Saeed Seddighin

Last modified: 2017-02-10


In the Colonel Blotto game, which was initially introduced by Borel in 1921, two colonels simultaneously distribute their troops across different battlefields.The winner of each battlefield is determined independently by a winner-take-all rule. The ultimate payoff of each colonel is the number of battlefields he wins. This game is commonly used for analyzing a wide range of applications such as the U.S presidential election, innovative technology competitions, advertisements, etc. There have been persistent efforts for finding the optimal strategies for the Colonel Blotto game. After almost a century Ahmadinejad, Dehghani, Hajiaghayi, Lucier, Mahini, and Seddighin provided a poly-time algorithm for finding the optimal strategies. They first model the problem by a Linear Program (LP) with exponential number of constraints and use Ellipsoid method to solve it. However, despite the theoretical importance of their algorithm, it ishighly impractical. In general, even Simplex method (despite its exponential running-time) performs better than Ellipsoid method in practice. In this paper, we provide the first polynomial-size LP formulation of the optimal strategies for the Colonel Blotto game. We use linear extension techniques. Roughly speaking, we project the strategy space polytope to a higher dimensional space, which results in a lower number of facets for the polytope.We use this polynomial-size LP to provide a novel, simpler and significantly faster algorithm for finding the optimal strategies for the Colonel Blotto game. We further show this representation is asymptotically tight in terms of the number of constraints. We also extend our approach to multi-dimensional Colonel Blotto games, and implement our algorithm to observe interesting properties of Colonel Blotto; for example, we observe the behavior of players in the discrete model is very similar to the previously studied continuous model.


Blotto Nash polytime

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