Conic Blackwell Algorithm: Parameter-Free Convex-Concave Saddle-Point Solving

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Julien Grand-Clément, Christian Kroer


We develop new parameter-free and scale-free algorithms for solving convex-concave saddle-point problems. Our results are based on a new simple regret minimizer, the Conic Blackwell Algorithm$^+$ (CBA$^+$), which attains $O(1/\sqrt{T})$ average regret. Intuitively, our approach generalizes to other decision sets of interest ideas from the Counterfactual Regret minimization (CFR$^+$) algorithm, which has very strong practical performance for solving sequential games on simplexes.We show how to implement CBA$^+$ for the simplex, $\ell_{p}$ norm balls, and ellipsoidal confidence regions in the simplex, and we present numerical experiments for solving matrix games and distributionally robust optimization problems.Our empirical results show that CBA$^+$ is a simple algorithm that outperforms state-of-the-art methods on synthetic data and real data instances, without the need for any choice of step sizes or other algorithmic parameters.