A potential reduction algorithm for two-person zero-sum mean payoff stochastic games
MFO Scientific ProgramResearch in Pairs 2015
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We suggest a new algorithm for two-person zero-sum undiscounted stochastic games focusing on stationary strategies. Given a positive real $\epsilon$, let us call a stochastic game $\epsilon$-ergodic, if its values from any two initial positions differ by at most $\epsilon$. The proposed new algorithm outputs for every $\epsilon > 0$ in finite time either a pair of stationary strategies for the two players guaranteeing that the values from any initial positions are within an $\epsilon$-range, or identifies two initial positions $u$ and $v$ and corresponding stationary strategies for the players proving that the game values starting from $u$ and $v$ are at least $\epsilon/24$ apart.In particular, the above result shows that if a stochastic game is $0$-ergodic, then there are stationary strategies for the players proving $24\epsilon$-ergodicity. This result strengthens and provides a constructive version of an existential result by Vrieze (1980)claiming that if a stochastic game is $0$-ergodic, then there are $\epsilon$-optimal stationary strategies for every $\epsilon>0$. The suggested algorithm is based on a potential transformation technique that changes the range of local values at all positions without changing the normal form of the game.