Collaborating Authors

Meisheri, Hardik

Reinforcement Learning for Multi-Product Multi-Node Inventory Management in Supply Chains Artificial Intelligence

This paper describes the application of reinforcement learning (RL) to multi-product inventory management in supply chains. The problem description and solution are both adapted from a real-world business solution. The novelty of this problem with respect to supply chain literature is (i) we consider concurrent inventory management of a large number (50 to 1000) of products with shared capacity, (ii) we consider a multi-node supply chain consisting of a warehouse which supplies three stores, (iii) the warehouse, stores, and transportation from warehouse to stores have finite capacities, (iv) warehouse and store replenishment happen at different time scales and with realistic time lags, and (v) demand for products at the stores is stochastic. We describe a novel formulation in a multi-agent (hierarchical) reinforcement learning framework that can be used for parallelised decision-making, and use the advantage actor critic (A2C) algorithm with quantised action spaces to solve the problem. Experiments show that the proposed approach is able to handle a multi-objective reward comprised of maximising product sales and minimising wastage of perishable products.

Accelerating Training in Pommerman with Imitation and Reinforcement Learning Machine Learning

The Pommerman simulation was recently developed to mimic the classic Japanese game Bomberman, and focuses on competitive gameplay in a multi-agent setting. We focus on the 2$\times$2 team version of Pommerman, developed for a competition at NeurIPS 2018. Our methodology involves training an agent initially through imitation learning on a noisy expert policy, followed by a proximal-policy optimization (PPO) reinforcement learning algorithm. The basic PPO approach is modified for stable transition from the imitation learning phase through reward shaping, action filters based on heuristics, and curriculum learning. The proposed methodology is able to beat heuristic and pure reinforcement learning baselines with a combined 100,000 training games, significantly faster than other non-tree-search methods in literature. We present results against multiple agents provided by the developers of the simulation, including some that we have enhanced. We include a sensitivity analysis over different parameters, and highlight undesirable effects of some strategies that initially appear promising. Since Pommerman is a complex multi-agent competitive environment, the strategies developed here provide insights into several real-world problems with characteristics such as partial observability, decentralized execution (without communication), and very sparse and delayed rewards.

Reinforcement Learning for Multi-Objective Optimization of Online Decisions in High-Dimensional Systems Artificial Intelligence

This paper describes a purely data-driven solution to a class of sequential decision-making problems with a large number of concurrent online decisions, with applications to computing systems and operations research. We assume that while the micro-level behaviour of the system can be broadly captured by analytical expressions or simulation, the macro-level or emergent behaviour is complicated by non-linearity, constraints, and stochasticity. If we represent the set of concurrent decisions to be computed as a vector, each element of the vector is assumed to be a continuous variable, and the number of such elements is arbitrarily large and variable from one problem instance to another. We first formulate the decision-making problem as a canonical reinforcement learning (RL) problem, which can be solved using purely data-driven techniques. We modify a standard approach known as advantage actor critic (A2C) to ensure its suitability to the problem at hand, and compare its performance to that of baseline approaches on the specific instance of a multi-product inventory management task. The key modifications include a parallelised formulation of the decision-making task, and a training procedure that explicitly recognises the quantitative relationship between different decisions. We also present experimental results probing the learned policies, and their robustness to variations in the data.