Expectations or Guarantees? I Want It All! A crossroad between games and MDPs

Véronique Bruyère, Emmanuel Filiot, Mickael Randour, Jean-François Raskin

When reasoning about the strategic capabilities of an agent, it is important to consider the nature of its adversaries. In the particular context of controller synthesis for quantitative specifications, the usual problem is to devise a strategy for a reactive system which yields some desired performance, taking into account the possible impact of the environment of the system. There are at least two ways to look at this environment. In the classical analysis of two-player quantitative games, the environment is purely antagonistic and the problem is to provide strict performance guarantees. In Markov decision processes, the environment is seen as purely stochastic: the aim is then to optimize the expected payoff, with no guarantee on individual outcomes. In this expository work, we report on recent results introducing the beyond worst-case synthesis problem, which is to construct strategies that guarantee some quantitative requirement in the worst-case while providing an higher expected value against a particular stochastic model of the environment given as input. This problem is relevant to produce system controllers that provide nice expected performance in the everyday situation while ensuring a strict (but relaxed) performance threshold even in the event of very bad (while unlikely) circumstances. It has been studied for both the mean-payoff and the shortest path quantitative measures.

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