The semantic communication game

Basak Guler, Aylin Yener, Ananthram Swami

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    2 Scopus citations


    We study how to communicate semantic information in the presence of an agent that can influence the decoder by providing side information. The agent's true intentions, which may be adversarial or helpful, is unknown to the communicating parties. Actions taken by the agent are governed by its intentions, and they may improve or deteriorate the communication performance. We characterize the optimal transmission policies to minimize the end-to-end average semantic error, i.e., difference between the meanings of intended and recovered messages, under the uncertainty in the agent's true intentions. We formulate the semantic communication problem as a Bayesian game, and investigate the conditions under which a pure strategy Bayesian Nash equilibrium exists. We then explore the structure of the encoding and decoding functions under the mixed strategy Bayesian Nash equilibrium, which for the semantic communication problem at hand always exists. Our results show that the optimal policies are strongly influenced by the belief the parties hold about the agent's true intention.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publication2016 IEEE International Conference on Communications, ICC 2016
    PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
    ISBN (Electronic)9781479966646
    StatePublished - Jul 12 2016
    Event2016 IEEE International Conference on Communications, ICC 2016 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Duration: May 22 2016May 27 2016

    Publication series

    Name2016 IEEE International Conference on Communications, ICC 2016


    Other2016 IEEE International Conference on Communications, ICC 2016
    CityKuala Lumpur

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Computer Networks and Communications


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