Department of Computational Social Science Seminar Abstract

Friday, November 18 - 3:00 p.m.
Center for Social Complexity Suite
Third Floor, Research Hall

Title: Modeling Humans as Reinforcement Learners: How to Predict Human Behavior in Multi-Stage Games

James Bono, Asst. Professor
Department of Economics
American University

Abstract: This paper introduces a novel framework for modeling interacting humans in a multi-stage game environment by combining concepts from game theory and reinforcement learning. The proposed model has the following desirable characteristics: (1) Bounded rational players, (2) strategic (i.e., players account for one another’s reward functions), and (3) is computationally feasible even on moderately large real-world systems. To do this we extend level-K reasoning to policy space to, for the first time, be able to handle multiple time steps. This allows us to decompose the problem into a series of smaller ones where we can apply standard reinforcement learning algorithms. We investigate these ideas in a cyber-battle scenario over a smart power grid and discuss the relationship between the behavior predicted by our model and what one might expect of real human defenders and attackers.