Strategy Graphs for Influence Diagrams

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Eric A. Hansen
Jinchuan Shi
James Kastrantas


An influence diagram is a graphical model of a Bayesian decision problem that is solved by finding a strategy that maximizes expected utility. When an influence diagram is solved by variable elimination or a related dynamic programming algorithm, it is traditional to represent a strategy as a sequence of policies, one for each decision variable, where a policy maps the relevant history for a decision to an action. We propose an alternative representation of a strategy as a graph, called a strategy graph, and show how to modify a variable elimination algorithm so that it constructs a strategy graph. We consider both a classic variable elimination algorithm for influence diagrams and a recent extension of this algorithm that has more relaxed constraints on elimination order that allow improved performance. We consider the advantages of representing a strategy as a graph and, in particular, how to simplify a strategy graph so that it is easier to interpret and analyze.

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