Fast Algorithms for Energy Games in Special Cases

by   Sebastian Forster, et al.

In this paper, we study algorithms for special cases of energy games, a class of turn-based games on graphs that show up in the quantitative analysis of reactive systems. In an energy game, the vertices of a weighted directed graph belong either to Alice or to Bob. A token is moved to a next vertex by the player controlling its current location, and its energy is changed by the weight of the edge. Given a fixed starting vertex and initial energy, Alice wins the game if the energy of the token remains nonnegative at every moment. If the energy goes below zero at some point, then Bob wins. The problem of determining the winner in an energy game lies in π–­π–―βˆ©π–Όπ—ˆπ–­π–―. It is a long standing open problem whether a polynomial time algorithm for this problem exists. We devise new algorithms for three special cases of the problem. The first two results focus on the single-player version, where either Alice or Bob controls the whole game graph. We develop an Γ•(n^Ο‰ W^Ο‰) time algorithm for a game graph controlled by Alice, by providing a reduction to the All-Pairs Nonnegative Prefix Paths problem (APNP), where W is the maximum weight and Ο‰ is the best exponent for matrix multiplication. Thus we study the APNP problem separately, for which we develop an Γ•(n^Ο‰ W^Ο‰) time algorithm. For both problems, we improve over the state of the art of Γ•(mn) for small W. For the APNP problem, we also provide a conditional lower bound, which states that there is no O(n^3-Ο΅) time algorithm for any Ο΅ > 0, unless the APSP Hypothesis fails. For a game graph controlled by Bob, we obtain a near-linear time algorithm. Regarding our third result, we present a variant of the value iteration algorithm, and we prove that it gives an O(mn) time algorithm for game graphs without negative cycles.


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