Abstract

https://ssrn.com/abstract=2784502
 


 



Delay-Predictability Tradeoffs in Reaching a Secret Goal


John Tsitsiklis


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Kuang Xu


Stanford Graduate School of Business

May 9, 2016

Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 16-25

Abstract:     
We formulate a model of sequential decision-making, dubbed the Goal Prediction game, to study the extent to which an overseeing adversary can predict the final goal of an agent who tries to reach that goal quickly, through a sequence of intermediate actions. Our formulation is motivated by the increasing ubiquity of large-scale surveillance and data collection infrastructures, which can be used to predict an agent's intentions and future actions, despite the agent's desire for privacy.

Our main result shows that with a carefully chosen strategy, the predictability of the agent's goal can be made inversely proportional to the time she is willing to spend in reaching it, and that this is essentially the best possible. Moreover, this characterization depends on the topology of the agent's state space only through its diameter.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15


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Date posted: May 26, 2016  

Suggested Citation

Tsitsiklis, John and Xu, Kuang, Delay-Predictability Tradeoffs in Reaching a Secret Goal (May 9, 2016). Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 16-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2784502 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2784502

Contact Information

John Tsitsiklis
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
617-253-6175 (Phone)
Kuang Xu (Contact Author)
Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )
655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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