Separable and Low-Rank Continuous Games

Noah D. Stein, Asuman Ozdaglar, Pablo A. Parrilo

In this paper, we study nonzero-sum separable games, which are continuous games whose payoffs take a sum-of-products form. Included in this subclass are all finite games and polynomial games. We investigate the structure of equilibria in separable games. We show that these games admit finitely supported Nash equilibria. Motivated by the bounds on the supports of mixed equilibria in two-player finite games in terms of the ranks of the payoff matrices, we define the notion of the rank of an n-player continuous game and use this to provide bounds on the cardinality of the support of equilibrium strategies. We present a general characterization theorem that states that a continuous game has finite rank if and only if it is separable. Using our rank results, we present an efficient algorithm for computing approximate equilibria of two-player separable games with fixed strategy spaces in time polynomial in the rank of the game.

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