On the Rational Role of Randomization
Thomas Icard (Stanford)
4:10 pm, Friday, April 13th, 2018
Faculty House, Columbia University
Abstract. Randomized acts play a marginal role in traditional Bayesian decision theory, essentially only one of tie-breaking. Meanwhile, rationales for randomized decisions have been offered in a number of areas, including game theory, experimental design, and machine learning. A common and plausible way of accommodating some (but not all) of these ideas from a Bayesian perspective is by appeal to a decision maker’s bounded computational resources. Making this suggestion both precise and compelling is surprisingly difficult. We propose a distinction between interesting and uninteresting cases where randomization can help a decision maker, with the eventual aim of achieving a unified story about the rational role of randomization. The interesting cases, we claim, all arise from constraints on memory.