Scalable Centralized Deep Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning via Policy Gradients

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In this paper, we explore using deep reinforcement learning for problems with multiple agents. Most existing methods for deep multi-agent reinforcement learning consider only a small number of agents. When the number of agents increases, the dimensionality of the input and control spaces increase as well, and these methods do not scale well. To address this, we propose casting the multi-agent reinforcement learning problem as a distributed optimization problem. Our algorithm assumes that for multi-agent settings, policies of individual agents in a given population live close to each other in parameter space and can be approximated by a single policy. With this simple assumption, we show our algorithm to be extremely effective for reinforcement learning in multi-agent settings. We demonstrate its effectiveness against existing comparable approaches on co-operative and competitive tasks.


Counterfactual Multi-Agent Policy Gradients

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Cooperative multi-agent systems can be naturally used to model many real world problems, such as network packet routing and the coordination of autonomous vehicles. There is a great need for new reinforcement learning methods that can efficiently learn decentralised policies for such systems. To this end, we propose a new multi-agent actor-critic method called counterfactual multi-agent (COMA) policy gradients. COMA uses a centralised critic to estimate the Q-function and decentralised actors to optimise the agents' policies. In addition, to address the challenges of multi-agent credit assignment, it uses a counterfactual baseline that marginalises out a single agent's action, while keeping the other agents' actions fixed. COMA also uses a critic representation that allows the counterfactual baseline to be computed efficiently in a single forward pass. We evaluate COMA in the testbed of StarCraft unit micromanagement, using a decentralised variant with significant partial observability. COMA significantly improves average performance over other multi-agent actor-critic methods in this setting, and the best performing agents are competitive with state-of-the-art centralised controllers that get access to the full state.


Counterfactual Multi-Agent Policy Gradients

AAAI Conferences

Many real-world problems, such as network packet routing and the coordination of autonomous vehicles, are naturally modelled as cooperative multi-agent systems. There is a great need for new reinforcement learning methods that can efficiently learn decentralised policies for such systems. To this end, we propose a new multi-agent actor-critic method called counterfactual multi-agent (COMA) policy gradients. COMA uses a centralised critic to estimate the Q-function and decentralised actors to optimise the agents' policies. In addition, to address the challenges of multi-agent credit assignment, it uses a counterfactual baseline that marginalises out a single agent's action, while keeping the other agents' actions fixed. COMA also uses a critic representation that allows the counterfactual baseline to be computed efficiently in a single forward pass. We evaluate COMA in the testbed of StarCraft unit micromanagement, using a decentralised variant with significant partial observability. COMA significantly improves average performance over other multi-agent actor-critic methods in this setting, and the best performing agents are competitive with state-of-the-art centralised controllers that get access to the full state.


Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning via Double Averaging Primal-Dual Optimization

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Despite the success of single-agent reinforcement learning, multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) remains challenging due to complex interactions between agents. Motivated by decentralized applications such as sensor networks, swarm robotics, and power grids, we study policy evaluation in MARL, where agents with jointly observed state-action pairs and private local rewards collaborate to learn the value of a given policy. In this paper, we propose a double averaging scheme, where each agent iteratively performs averaging over both space and time to incorporate neighboring gradient information and local reward information, respectively. We prove that the proposed algorithm converges to the optimal solution at a global geometric rate. In particular, such an algorithm is built upon a primal-dual reformulation of the mean squared projected Bellman error minimization problem, which gives rise to a decentralized convex-concave saddle-point problem. To the best of our knowledge, the proposed double averaging primal-dual optimization algorithm is the first to achieve fast finite-time convergence on decentralized convex-concave saddle-point problems.


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.