Collaborating Authors

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.

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.

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

"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.

Improving Policies via Search in Cooperative Partially Observable Games Artificial Intelligence

Recent superhuman results in games have largely been achieved in a variety of zero-sum settings, such as Go and Poker, in which agents need to compete against others. However, just like humans, real-world AI systems have to coordinate and communicate with other agents in cooperative partially observable environments as well. These settings commonly require participants to both interpret the actions of others and to act in a way that is informative when being interpreted. Those abilities are typically summarized as theory of mind and are seen as crucial for social interactions. In this paper we propose two different search techniques that can be applied to improve an arbitrary agreed-upon policy in a cooperative partially observable game. The first one, single-agent search, effectively converts the problem into a single agent setting by making all but one of the agents play according to the agreed-upon policy. In contrast, in multi-agent search all agents carry out the same common-knowledge search procedure whenever doing so is computationally feasible, and fall back to playing according to the agreed-upon policy otherwise. We prove that these search procedures are theoretically guaranteed to at least maintain the original performance of the agreed-upon policy (up to a bounded approximation error). In the benchmark challenge problem of Hanabi, our search technique greatly improves the performance of every agent we tested and when applied to a policy trained using RL achieves a new state-of-the-art score of 24.61 / 25 in the game, compared to a previous-best of 24.08 / 25. Introduction Real-world situations such as driving require humans to coordinate with others in a partially-observable environment with limited communication. In such environments, humans have a mental model of how other agents will behave in different situations (theory of mind). This model allows them to change their beliefs about the world based on why they think an agent acted as they did, as well as predict how their own actions will affect others' future behavior. Together, these capabilities allow humans to search for a good action to take while accounting for the behavior of others.