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DS4DM Coffee Talk

On the Limitations of Elo: Real-World Games, Are Transitive, Not Additive


Apr 3, 2023   11:00 AM — 12:00 PM

Quentin Bertrand MILA, Canada

Quentin Bertrand

Presentation on YouTube.

Real-world competitive games, such as chess, go, or StarCraft II, rely on Elo models to measure the strength of their players. Since these games are not fully transitive, using Elo implicitly assumes they have a strong transitive component that can correctly be identified and extracted. In this study, we investigate the challenge of identifying the strength of the transitive component in games. First, we show that Elo models can fail to extract this transitive component, even in elementary transitive games. Then, based on this observation, we propose an extension of the Elo score: we end up with a disc ranking system that assigns each player two scores, which we refer to as skill and consistency. Finally, we propose an empirical validation on payoff matrices coming from real-world games played by bots and humans.

Joint seminar with Ismail Sevim.

Federico Bobbio organizer
Defeng Liu organizer
Léa Ricard organizer


Hybrid activity at GERAD
Zoom et salle 4488
Pavillon André-Aisenstadt
Campus de l'Université de Montréal
2920, chemin de la Tour

Montréal Québec H3T 1J4

Associated organization