Collaborating Authors

Diverse Agents for Ad-Hoc Cooperation in Hanabi Artificial Intelligence

In complex scenarios where a model of other actors is necessary to predict and interpret their actions, it is often desirable that the model works well with a wide variety of previously unknown actors. Hanabi is a card game that brings the problem of modeling other players to the forefront, but there is no agreement on how to best generate a pool of agents to use as partners in ad-hoc cooperation evaluation. This paper proposes Quality Diversity algorithms as a promising class of algorithms to generate populations for this purpose and shows an initial implementation of an agent generator based on this idea. We also discuss what metrics can be used to compare such generators, and how the proposed generator could be leveraged to help build adaptive agents for the game.

Bayesian Action Decoder for Deep Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning Artificial Intelligence

When observing the actions of others, humans carry out inferences about why the others acted as they did, and what this implies about their view of the world. Humans also use the fact that their actions will be interpreted in this manner when observed by others, allowing them to act informatively and thereby communicate efficiently with others. Although learning algorithms have recently achieved superhuman performance in a number of two-player, zero-sum games, scalable multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithms that can discover effective strategies and conventions in complex, partially observable settings have proven elusive. We present the Bayesian action decoder (BAD), a new multi-agent learning method that uses an approximate Bayesian update to obtain a public belief that conditions on the actions taken by all agents in the environment. Together with the public belief, this Bayesian update effectively defines a new Markov decision process, the public belief MDP, in which the action space consists of deterministic partial policies, parameterised by deep neural networks, that can be sampled for a given public state. It exploits the fact that an agent acting only on this public belief state can still learn to use its private information if the action space is augmented to be over partial policies mapping private information into environment actions. The Bayesian update is also closely related to the theory of mind reasoning that humans carry out when observing others' actions. We first validate BAD on a proof-of-principle two-step matrix game, where it outperforms traditional policy gradient methods. We then evaluate BAD on the challenging, cooperative partial-information card game Hanabi, where in the two-player setting the method surpasses all previously published learning and hand-coded approaches.

Simplified Action Decoder for Deep Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning Artificial Intelligence

In recent years we have seen fast progress on a number of benchmark problems in AI, with modern methods achieving near or super human performance in Go, Poker and Dota. One common aspect of all of these challenges is that they are by design adversarial or, technically speaking, zero-sum. In contrast to these settings, success in the real world commonly requires humans to collaborate and communicate with others, in settings that are, at least partially, cooperative. In the last year, the card game Hanabi has been established as a new benchmark environment for AI to fill this gap. In particular, Hanabi is interesting to humans since it is entirely focused on theory of mind, i.e., the ability to effectively reason over the intentions, beliefs and point of view of other agents when observing their actions. Learning to be informative when observed by others is an interesting challenge for Reinforcement Learning (RL): Fundamentally, RL requires agents to explore in order to discover good policies. However, when done naively, this randomness will inherently make their actions less informative to others during training. We present a new deep multi-agent RL method, the Simplified Action Decoder (SAD), which resolves this contradiction exploiting the centralized training phase. During training SAD allows other agents to not only observe the (exploratory) action chosen, but agents instead also observe the greedy action of their team mates. By combining this simple intuition with best practices for multi-agent learning, SAD establishes a new SOTA for learning methods for 2-5 players on the self-play part of the Hanabi challenge. Our ablations show the contributions of SAD compared with the best practice components. All of our code and trained agents are available at

Generating and Adapting to Diverse Ad-Hoc Cooperation Agents in Hanabi Artificial Intelligence

Hanabi is a cooperative game that brings the problem of modeling other players to the forefront. In this game, coordinated groups of players can leverage pre-established conventions to great effect, but playing in an ad-hoc setting requires agents to adapt to its partner's strategies with no previous coordination. Evaluating an agent in this setting requires a diverse population of potential partners, but so far, the behavioral diversity of agents has not been considered in a systematic way. This paper proposes Quality Diversity algorithms as a promising class of algorithms to generate diverse populations for this purpose, and generates a population of diverse Hanabi agents using MAP-Elites. We also postulate that agents can benefit from a diverse population during training and implement a simple "meta-strategy" for adapting to an agent's perceived behavioral niche. We show this meta-strategy can work better than generalist strategies even outside the population it was trained with if its partner's behavioral niche can be correctly inferred, but in practice a partner's behavior depends and interferes with the meta-agent's own behavior, suggesting an avenue for future research in characterizing another agent's behavior during gameplay.

"Other-Play" for Zero-Shot Coordination Artificial Intelligence

We consider the problem of zero-shot coordination - constructing AI agents that can coordinate with novel partners they have not seen before (e.g. humans). Standard Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning (MARL) methods typically focus on the self-play (SP) setting where agents construct strategies by playing the game with themselves repeatedly. Unfortunately, applying SP naively to the zero-shot coordination problem can produce agents that establish highly specialized conventions that do not carry over to novel partners they have not been trained with. We introduce a novel learning algorithm called other-play (OP), that enhances self-play by looking for more robust strategies, exploiting the presence of known symmetries in the underlying problem. We characterize OP theoretically as well as experimentally. We study the cooperative card game Hanabi and show that OP agents achieve higher scores when paired with independently trained agents. In preliminary results we also show that our OP agents obtains higher average scores when paired with human players, compared to state-of-the-art SP agents.