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Minimax or Maximin?

#artificialintelligence

Minimax, as the name suggest, is a method in decision theory for minimizing the maximum loss.


Maximin Optimization for Binary Regression

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We consider regression problems with binary weights. Such optimization problems are ubiquitous in quantized learning models and digital communication systems. A natural approach is to optimize the corresponding Lagrangian using variants of the gradient ascent-descent method. Such maximin techniques are still poorly understood even in the concave-convex case. The non-convex binary constraints may lead to spurious local minima. Interestingly, we prove that this approach is optimal in linear regression with low noise conditions as well as robust regression with a small number of outliers. Practically, the method also performs well in regression with cross entropy loss, as well as non-convex multi-layer neural networks. Taken together our approach highlights the potential of saddle-point optimization for learning constrained models.


Possible Winners in Noisy Elections

AAAI Conferences

We consider the problem of predicting winners in elections given complete knowledge about all possible candidates, all possible voters (together with their preferences), but in the case where it is uncertain either which candidates exactly register for the election or which voters cast their votes. Under reasonable assumptions our problems reduce to counting variants of election control problems. We either give polynomial-time algorithms or prove #P-completeness results for counting variants of control by adding/deleting candidates/voters for Plurality, k -Approval, Approval, Condorcet, and Maximin voting rules.


Groupwise Maximin Fair Allocation of Indivisible Goods

AAAI Conferences

We study the problem of allocating indivisible goods among n agents in a fair manner. For this problem, maximin share (MMS) is a well-studied solution concept which provides a fairness threshold. Specifically, maximin share is defined as the minimum utility that an agent can guarantee for herself when asked to partition the set of goods into n bundles such that the remaining (n-1) agents pick their bundles adversarially. An allocation is deemed to be fair if every agent gets a bundle whose valuation is at least her maximin share. Even though maximin shares provide a natural benchmark for fairness, it has its own drawbacks and, in particular, it is not sufficient to rule out unsatisfactory allocations. Motivated by these considerations, in this work we define a stronger notion of fairness, called groupwise maximin share guarantee (GMMS). In GMMS, we require that the maximin share guarantee is achieved not just with respect to the grand bundle, but also among all the subgroups of agents. Hence, this solution concept strengthens MMS and provides an ex-post fairness guarantee. We show that in specific settings, GMMS allocations always exist. We also establish the existence of approximate GMMS allocations under additive valuations, and develop a polynomial-time algorithm to find such allocations. Moreover, we establish a scale of fairness wherein we show that GMMS implies approximate envy freeness. Finally, we empirically demonstrate the existence of GMMS allocations in a large set of randomly generated instances. For the same set of instances, we additionally show that our algorithm achieves an approximation factor better than the established, worst-case bound.


Maximin Action Identification: A New Bandit Framework for Games

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We study an original problem of pure exploration in a strategic bandit model motivated by Monte Carlo Tree Search. It consists in identifying the best action in a game, when the player may sample random outcomes of sequentially chosen pairs of actions. We propose two strategies for the fixed-confidence setting: Maximin-LUCB, based on lower-and upper-confidence bounds; and Maximin-Racing, which operates by successively eliminating the sub-optimal actions. We discuss the sample complexity of both methods and compare their performance empirically. We sketch a lower bound analysis, and possible connections to an optimal algorithm.