Multi-Agent Actor-Critic for Mixed Cooperative-Competitive Environments

Neural Information Processing Systems

We explore deep reinforcement learning methods for multi-agent domains. We begin by analyzing the difficulty of traditional algorithms in the multi-agent case: Q-learning is challenged by an inherent non-stationarity of the environment, while policy gradient suffers from a variance that increases as the number of agents grows. We then present an adaptation of actor-critic methods that considers action policies of other agents and is able to successfully learn policies that require complex multi-agent coordination. Additionally, we introduce a training regimen utilizing an ensemble of policies for each agent that leads to more robust multi-agent policies. We show the strength of our approach compared to existing methods in cooperative as well as competitive scenarios, where agent populations are able to discover various physical and informational coordination strategies.

Dealing with Non-Stationarity in Multi-Agent Deep Reinforcement Learning Artificial Intelligence

Recent developments in deep reinforcement learning are concerned with creating decision-making agents which can perform well in various complex domains. A particular approach which has received increasing attention is multi-agent reinforcement learning, in which multiple agents learn concurrently to coordinate their actions. In such multi-agent environments, additional learning problems arise due to the continually changing decision-making policies of agents. This paper surveys recent works that address the non-stationarity problem in multi-agent deep reinforcement learning. The surveyed methods range from modifications in the training procedure, such as centralized training, to learning representations of the opponent's policy, meta-learning, communication, and decentralized learning. The survey concludes with a list of open problems and possible lines of future research.

Multi-Agent Actor-Critic with Hierarchical Graph Attention Network Artificial Intelligence

Most previous studies on multi-agent reinforcement learning focus on deriving decentralized and cooperative policies to maximize a common reward and rarely consider the transferability of trained policies to new tasks. This prevents such policies from being applied to more complex multi-agent tasks. To resolve these limitations, we propose a model that conducts both representation learning for multiple agents using hierarchical graph attention network and policy learning using multi-agent actor-critic. The hierarchical graph attention network is specially designed to model the hierarchical relationships among multiple agents that either cooperate or compete with each other to derive more advanced strategic policies. Two attention networks, the inter-agent and inter-group attention layers, are used to effectively model individual and group level interactions, respectively. The two attention networks have been proven to facilitate the transfer of learned policies to new tasks with different agent compositions and allow one to interpret the learned strategies. Empirically, we demonstrate that the proposed model outperforms existing methods in several mixed cooperative and competitive tasks.

A New Framework for Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning -- Centralized Training and Exploration with Decentralized Execution via Policy Distillation Machine Learning

Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) is a booming area of artificial intelligence. Many practical applications of DRL naturally involve more than one collaborative learners, making it important to study DRL in a multi-agent context. Previous research showed that effective learning in complex multi-agent systems demands for highly coordinated environment exploration among all the participating agents. Many researchers attempted to cope with this challenge through learning centralized value functions. However, the common strategy for every agent to learn their local policies directly often fail to nurture strong inter-agent collaboration and can be sample inefficient whenever agents alter their communication channels. To address these issues, we propose a new framework known as centralized training and exploration with decentralized execution via policy distillation. Guided by this framework and the maximum-entropy learning technique, we will first train agents' policies with shared global component to foster coordinated and effective learning. Locally executable policies will be derived subsequently from the trained global policies via policy distillation. Experiments show that our new framework and algorithm can achieve significantly better performance and higher sample efficiency than a cutting-edge baseline on several multi-agent DRL benchmarks.

Graph Convolutional Reinforcement Learning for Multi-Agent Cooperation Artificial Intelligence

Learning to cooperate is crucially important in multi-agent reinforcement learning. The key is to take the influence of other agents into consideration when performing distributed decision making. However, multi-agent environment is highly dynamic, which makes it hard to learn abstract representations of influences between agents by only low-order features that existing methods exploit. In this paper, we propose a graph convolutional model for multi-agent cooperation. The graph convolution architecture adapts to the dynamics of the underlying graph of the multi-agent environment, where the influence among agents is captured by their abstract relation representations. High-order features extracted by relation kernels of convolutional layers from gradually increased receptive fields are exploited to learn cooperative strategies. The gradient of an agent not only backpropagates to itself but also to other agents in its receptive fields to reinforce the learned cooperative strategies. Moreover, the relation representations are temporally regularized to make the cooperation more consistent. Empirically, we show that our model enables agents to develop more cooperative and sophisticated strategies than existing methods in jungle and battle games and routing in packet switching networks.