Multi-Agent Common Knowledge Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In multi-agent reinforcement learning, centralised policies can only be executed if agents have access to either the global state or an instantaneous communication channel. An alternative approach that circumvents this limitation is to use centralised training of a set of decentralised policies. However, such policies severely limit the agents' ability to coordinate. We propose multi-agent common knowledge reinforcement learning (MACKRL), which strikes a middle ground between these two extremes. Our approach is based on the insight that, even in partially observable settings, subsets of agents often have some common knowledge that they can exploit to coordinate their behaviour. Common knowledge can arise, e.g., if all agents can reliably observe things in their own field of view and know the field of view of other agents. Using this additional information, it is possible to find a centralised policy that conditions only on agents' common knowledge and that can be executed in a decentralised fashion. A resulting challenge is then to determine at what level agents should coordinate. While the common knowledge shared among all agents may not contain much valuable information, there may be subgroups of agents that share common knowledge useful for coordination. MACKRL addresses this challenge using a hierarchical approach: at each level, a controller can either select a joint action for the agents in a given subgroup, or propose a partition of the agents into smaller subgroups whose actions are then selected by controllers at the next level. While action selection involves sampling hierarchically, learning updates are based on the probability of the joint action, calculated by marginalising across the possible decisions of the hierarchy. We show promising results on both a proof-of-concept matrix game and a multi-agent version of StarCraft II Micromanagement.


Neighborhood Cognition Consistent Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Social psychology and real experiences show that cognitive consistency plays an important role to keep human society in order: if people have a more consistent cognition about their environments, they are more likely to achieve better cooperation. Meanwhile, only cognitive consistency within a neighborhood matters because humans only interact directly with their neighbors. Inspired by these observations, we take the first step to introduce \emph{neighborhood cognitive consistency} (NCC) into multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL). Our NCC design is quite general and can be easily combined with existing MARL methods. As examples, we propose neighborhood cognition consistent deep Q-learning and Actor-Critic to facilitate large-scale multi-agent cooperations. Extensive experiments on several challenging tasks (i.e., packet routing, wifi configuration, and Google football player control) justify the superior performance of our methods compared with state-of-the-art MARL approaches.


Learning to Communicate with Deep Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

Neural Information Processing Systems

We consider the problem of multiple agents sensing and acting in environments with the goal of maximising their shared utility. In these environments, agents must learn communication protocols in order to share information that is needed to solve the tasks. By embracing deep neural networks, we are able to demonstrate end-to-end learning of protocols in complex environments inspired by communication riddles and multi-agent computer vision problems with partial observability. We propose two approaches for learning in these domains: Reinforced Inter-Agent Learning (RIAL) and Differentiable Inter-Agent Learning (DIAL). The former uses deep Q-learning, while the latter exploits the fact that, during learning, agents can backpropagate error derivatives through (noisy) communication channels. Hence, this approach uses centralised learning but decentralised execution. Our experiments introduce new environments for studying the learning of communication protocols and present a set of engineering innovations that are essential for success in these domains.


Multi-agent Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning with Dynamic Termination

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In a multi-agent system, an agent's optimal policy will typically depend on the policies chosen by others. Therefore, a key issue in multi-agent systems research is that of predicting the behaviours of others, and responding promptly to changes in such behaviours. One obvious possibility is for each agent to broadcast their current intention, for example, the currently executed option in a hierarchical reinforcement learning framework. However, this approach results in inflexibility of agents if options have an extended duration and are dynamic. While adjusting the executed option at each step improves flexibility from a single-agent perspective, frequent changes in options can induce inconsistency between an agent's actual behaviour and its broadcast intention. In order to balance flexibility and predictability, we propose a dynamic termination Bellman equation that allows the agents to flexibly terminate their options. We evaluate our model empirically on a set of multi-agent pursuit and taxi tasks, and show that our agents learn to adapt flexibly across scenarios that require different termination behaviours.


Dynamic Safe Interruptibility for Decentralized Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In reinforcement learning, agents learn by performing actions and observing their outcomes. Sometimes, it is desirable for a human operator to \textit{interrupt} an agent in order to prevent dangerous situations from happening. Yet, as part of their learning process, agents may link these interruptions, that impact their reward, to specific states and deliberately avoid them. The situation is particularly challenging in a multi-agent context because agents might not only learn from their own past interruptions, but also from those of other agents. Orseau and Armstrong defined \emph{safe interruptibility} for one learner, but their work does not naturally extend to multi-agent systems. This paper introduces \textit{dynamic safe interruptibility}, an alternative definition more suited to decentralized learning problems, and studies this notion in two learning frameworks: \textit{joint action learners} and \textit{independent learners}. We give realistic sufficient conditions on the learning algorithm to enable dynamic safe interruptibility in the case of joint action learners, yet show that these conditions are not sufficient for independent learners. We show however that if agents can detect interruptions, it is possible to prune the observations to ensure dynamic safe interruptibility even for independent learners.