Scaling Opponent Shaping to High Dimensional Games


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In multi-agent settings with mixed incentives, methods developed for zero-sum games have been shown to lead to detrimental outcomes. To address this issue, opponent shaping (OS) methods explicitly learn to influence the learning dynamics of co-players and empirically lead to improved individual and collective outcomes. However, OS methods have only been evaluated in low-dimensional environments due to the challenges associated with estimating higher-order derivatives or scaling model-free meta-learning. Alternative methods that scale to more complex settings either converge to undesirable solutions or rely on unrealistic assumptions about the environment or co-players. In this paper, we successfully scale an OS-based approach to general-sum games with temporally-extended actions and long-time horizons for the first time. After analysing the representations of the meta-state and history used by previous algorithms, we propose a simplified version called Shaper. We show empirically that Shaper leads to improved individual and collective outcomes in a range of challenging settings from literature. We further formalize a technique previously implicit in the literature, and analyse its contribution to opponent shaping. We show empirically that this technique is helpful for the functioning of prior methods in certain environments. Lastly, we show that previous environments, such as the CoinGame, are inadequate for analysing temporally-extended general-sum interactions.
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