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A Framework for Sequential Planning in Multi-Agent Settings

AAAI Conferences

This paper extends the framework of partially observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs) to multi-agent settings by incorporating the notion of agent models into the state space. Agents maintain beliefs over physical states of the environment and over models of other agents, and they use Bayesian updates to maintain their beliefs over time. The solutions map belief states to actions. Models of other agents may include their belief states and are related to agent types considered in games of incomplete information. We express the agents' autonomy by postulating that their models are not directly manipulable or observable by other agents.


A Framework for Sequential Planning in Multi-Agent Settings

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

This paper extends the framework of partially observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs) to multi-agent settings by incorporating the notion of agent models into the state space. Agents maintain beliefs over physical states of the environment and over models of other agents, and they use Bayesian updates to maintain their beliefs over time. The solutions map belief states to actions. Models of other agents may include their belief states and are related to agent types considered in games of incomplete information. We express the agents' autonomy by postulating that their models are not directly manipulable or observable by other agents. We show that important properties of POMDPs, such as convergence of value iteration, the rate of convergence, and piece-wise linearity and convexity of the value functions carry over to our framework. Our approach complements a more traditional approach to interactive settings which uses Nash equilibria as a solution paradigm. We seek to avoid some of the drawbacks of equilibria which may be non-unique and do not capture off-equilibrium behaviors. We do so at the cost of having to represent, process and continuously revise models of other agents. Since the agent's beliefs may be arbitrarily nested, the optimal solutions to decision making problems are only asymptotically computable. However, approximate belief updates and approximately optimal plans are computable. We illustrate our framework using a simple application domain, and we show examples of belief updates and value functions.



Monte Carlo Sampling Methods for Approximating Interactive POMDPs

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Partially observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs) provide a principled framework for sequential planning in uncertain single agent settings. An extension of POMDPs to multiagent settings, called interactive POMDPs (I-POMDPs), replaces POMDP belief spaces with interactive hierarchical belief systems which represent an agent's belief about the physical world, about beliefs of other agents, and about their beliefs about others' beliefs. This modification makes the difficulties of obtaining solutions due to complexity of the belief and policy spaces even more acute. We describe a general method for obtaining approximate solutions of I-POMDPs based on particle filtering (PF). We introduce the interactive PF, which descends the levels of the interactive belief hierarchies and samples and propagates beliefs at each level. The interactive PF is able to mitigate the belief space complexity, but it does not address the policy space complexity. To mitigate the policy space complexity -- sometimes also called the curse of history -- we utilize a complementary method based on sampling likely observations while building the look ahead reachability tree. While this approach does not completely address the curse of history, it beats back the curse's impact substantially. We provide experimental results and chart future work.


Decision Making in Complex Multiagent Contexts: A Tale of Two Frameworks

AI Magazine

It involves choosing optimally between different lines of action in various information contexts that range from perfectly knowing all aspects of the decision problem to having just partial knowledge about it. The physical context often includes other interacting autonomous systems, typically called agents. In this article, I focus on decision making in a multiagent context with partial information about the problem. Relevant research in this complex but realistic setting has converged around two complementary, general frameworks and also introduced myriad specializations on its way. I put the two frameworks, decentralized partially observable Markov decision process (Dec-POMDP) and the interactive partially observable Markov decision process (I-POMDP), in context and review the foundational algorithms for these frameworks, while briefly discussing the advances in their specializations.