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

arXiv.org 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 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.


Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning: A Report on Challenges and Approaches

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Reinforcement Learning (RL) is a learning paradigm concerned with learning to control a system so as to maximize an objective over the long term. This approach to learning has received immense interest in recent times and success manifests itself in the form of human-level performance on games like \textit{Go}. While RL is emerging as a practical component in real-life systems, most successes have been in Single Agent domains. This report will instead specifically focus on challenges that are unique to Multi-Agent Systems interacting in mixed cooperative and competitive environments. The report concludes with advances in the paradigm of training Multi-Agent Systems called \textit{Decentralized Actor, Centralized Critic}, based on an extension of MDPs called \textit{Decentralized Partially Observable MDP}s, which has seen a renewed interest lately.


Stabilising Experience Replay for Deep Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Many real-world problems, such as network packet routing and urban traffic control, are naturally modeled as multi-agent reinforcement learning (RL) problems. However, existing multi-agent RL methods typically scale poorly in the problem size. Therefore, a key challenge is to translate the success of deep learning on single-agent RL to the multi-agent setting. A major stumbling block is that independent Q-learning, the most popular multi-agent RL method, introduces nonstationarity that makes it incompatible with the experience replay memory on which deep Q-learning relies. This paper proposes two methods that address this problem: 1) using a multi-agent variant of importance sampling to naturally decay obsolete data and 2) conditioning each agent's value function on a fingerprint that disambiguates the age of the data sampled from the replay memory. Results on a challenging decentralised variant of StarCraft unit micromanagement confirm that these methods enable the successful combination of experience replay with multi-agent RL.


Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning: A Selective Overview of Theories and Algorithms

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Recent years have witnessed significant advances in reinforcement learning (RL), which has registered great success in solving various sequential decision-making problems in machine learning. Most of the successful RL applications, e.g., the games of Go and Poker, robotics, and autonomous driving, involve the participation of more than one single agent, which naturally fall into the realm of multi-agent RL (MARL), a domain with a relatively long history, and has recently re-emerged due to advances in single-agent RL techniques. Though empirically successful, theoretical foundations for MARL are relatively lacking in the literature. In this chapter, we provide a selective overview of MARL, with focus on algorithms backed by theoretical analysis. More specifically, we review the theoretical results of MARL algorithms mainly within two representative frameworks, Markov/stochastic games and extensive-form games, in accordance with the types of tasks they address, i.e., fully cooperative, fully competitive, and a mix of the two. We also introduce several significant but challenging applications of these algorithms. Orthogonal to the existing reviews on MARL, we highlight several new angles and taxonomies of MARL theory, including learning in extensive-form games, decentralized MARL with networked agents, MARL in the mean-field regime, (non-)convergence of policy-based methods for learning in games, etc. Some of the new angles extrapolate from our own research endeavors and interests. Our overall goal with this chapter is, beyond providing an assessment of the current state of the field on the mark, to identify fruitful future research directions on theoretical studies of MARL. We expect this chapter to serve as continuing stimulus for researchers interested in working on this exciting while challenging topic.