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Title: Obligation Blackwell Games and p-Automata
Authors: Piterman, Nir
Chatterjee, Krishnendu
First Published: 5-Nov-2013
Abstract: We recently introduced p-automata, automata that read discrete-time Markov chains. We used turn-based stochastic parity games to define acceptance of Markov chains by a subclass of p-automata. Definition of acceptance required a cumbersome and complicated reduction to a series of turn-based stochastic parity games. The reduction could not support acceptance by general p-automata, which was left undefined as there was no notion of games that supported it. Here we generalize two-player games by adding a structural acceptance condition called obligations. Obligations are orthogonal to the linear winning conditions that define winning. Obligations are a declaration that player 0 can achieve a certain value from a configuration. If the obligation is met, the value of that configuration for player 0 is 1. One cannot define value in obligation games by the standard mechanism of considering the measure of winning paths on a Markov chain and taking the supremum of the infimum of all strategies. Mainly because obligations need definition even for Markov chains and the nature of obligations has the flavor of an infinite nesting of supremum and infimum operators. We define value via a reduction to turn-based games similar to Martin's proof of determinacy of Blackwell games with Borel objectives. Based on this definition, we show that games are determined. We show that for Markov chains with Borel objectives and obligations, and finite turn-based stochastic parity games with obligations there exists an alternative and simpler characterization of the value function. Based on this simpler definition we give an exponential time algorithm to analyze finite turn-based stochastic parity games with obligations. Finally, we show that obligation games provide the necessary framework for reasoning about p-automata and that they generalize the previous definition.
Version: Pre-print
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Computer Science

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