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The dynamics of reinforcement learning in cooperative multiagent systems
 IN PROCEEDINGS OF NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AAAI98
, 1998
"... Reinforcement learning can provide a robust and natural means for agents to learn how to coordinate their action choices in multiagent systems. We examine some of the factors that can influence the dynamics of the learning process in such a setting. We first distinguish reinforcement learners that a ..."
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Cited by 377 (1 self)
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Reinforcement learning can provide a robust and natural means for agents to learn how to coordinate their action choices in multiagent systems. We examine some of the factors that can influence the dynamics of the learning process in such a setting. We first distinguish reinforcement learners that are unaware of (or ignore) the presence of other agents from those that explicitly attempt to learn the value of joint actions and the strategies of their counterparts. We study (a simple form of) Qlearning in cooperative multiagent systems under these two perspectives, focusing on the influence of that game structure and exploration strategies on convergence to (optimal and suboptimal) Nash equilibria. We then propose alternative optimistic exploration strategies that increase the likelihood of convergence to an optimal equilibrium.
The Communicative Multiagent Team Decision Problem: Analyzing Teamwork Theories and Models
 JOURNAL OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE RESEARCH
, 2002
"... Despite the significant progress in multiagent teamwork, existing research does not address the optimality of its prescriptions nor the complexity of the teamwork problem. Without a characterization of the optimalitycomplexity tradeoffs, it is impossible to determine whether the assumptions and app ..."
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Cited by 233 (21 self)
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Despite the significant progress in multiagent teamwork, existing research does not address the optimality of its prescriptions nor the complexity of the teamwork problem. Without a characterization of the optimalitycomplexity tradeoffs, it is impossible to determine whether the assumptions and approximations made by a particular theory gain enough efficiency to justify the losses in overall performance. To provide a tool for use by multiagent researchers in evaluating this tradeoff, we present a unified framework, the COMmunicative Multiagent Team Decision Problem (COMMTDP). The COMMTDP model combines and extends existing multiagent theories, such as decentralized partially observable Markov decision processes and economic team theory. In addition to their generality of representation, COMMTDPs also support the analysis of both the optimality of team performance and the computational complexity of the agents' decision problem. In analyzing complexity, we present a breakdown of the computational complexity of constructing optimal teams under various classes of problem domains, along the dimensions of observability and communication cost. In analyzing optimality, we exploit the COMMTDP's ability to encode existing teamwork theories and models to encode two instantiations of joint intentions theory taken from the literature. Furthermore, the COMMTDP model provides a basis for the development of novel team coordination algorithms. We derive a domainindependent criterion for optimal communication and provide a comparative analysis of the two joint intentions instantiations with respect to this optimal policy. We have implemented a reusable, domainindependent software package based on COMMTDPs to analyze teamwork coordination strategies, and we demons...
Cooperative MultiAgent Learning: The State of the Art
 Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems
, 2005
"... Cooperative multiagent systems are ones in which several agents attempt, through their interaction, to jointly solve tasks or to maximize utility. Due to the interactions among the agents, multiagent problem complexity can rise rapidly with the number of agents or their behavioral sophistication. ..."
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Cited by 182 (8 self)
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Cooperative multiagent systems are ones in which several agents attempt, through their interaction, to jointly solve tasks or to maximize utility. Due to the interactions among the agents, multiagent problem complexity can rise rapidly with the number of agents or their behavioral sophistication. The challenge this presents to the task of programming solutions to multiagent systems problems has spawned increasing interest in machine learning techniques to automate the search and optimization process. We provide a broad survey of the cooperative multiagent learning literature. Previous surveys of this area have largely focused on issues common to specific subareas (for example, reinforcement learning or robotics). In this survey we attempt to draw from multiagent learning work in a spectrum of areas, including reinforcement learning, evolutionary computation, game theory, complex systems, agent modeling, and robotics. We find that this broad view leads to a division of the work into two categories, each with its own special issues: applying a single learner to discover joint solutions to multiagent problems (team learning), or using multiple simultaneous learners, often one per agent (concurrent learning). Additionally, we discuss direct and indirect communication in connection with learning, plus open issues in task decomposition, scalability, and adaptive dynamics. We conclude with a presentation of multiagent learning problem domains, and a list of multiagent learning resources. 1
An introduction to collective intelligence
 Handbook of Agent technology. AAAI
, 1999
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Collaborative Multiagent Reinforcement Learning by Payoff Propagation
 JOURNAL OF MACHINE LEARNING RESEARCH
, 2006
"... In this article we describe a set of scalable techniques for learning the behavior of a group of agents in a collaborative multiagent setting. As a basis we use the framework of coordination graphs of Guestrin, Koller, and Parr (2002a) which exploits the dependencies between agents to decompose t ..."
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Cited by 65 (2 self)
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In this article we describe a set of scalable techniques for learning the behavior of a group of agents in a collaborative multiagent setting. As a basis we use the framework of coordination graphs of Guestrin, Koller, and Parr (2002a) which exploits the dependencies between agents to decompose the global payoff function into a sum of local terms. First, we deal with the singlestate case and describe a payoff propagation algorithm that computes the individual actions that approximately maximize the global payoff function. The method can be viewed as the decisionmaking analogue of belief propagation in Bayesian networks. Second, we focus on learning the behavior of the agents in sequential decisionmaking tasks. We introduce different modelfree reinforcementlearning techniques, unitedly called Sparse Cooperative Qlearning, which approximate the global actionvalue function based on the topology of a coordination graph, and perform updates using the contribution of the individual agents to the maximal global action value. The combined use of an edgebased decomposition of the actionvalue function and the payoff propagation algorithm for efficient action selection, result in an approach that scales only linearly in the problem size. We provide experimental evidence that our method outperforms related multiagent reinforcementlearning methods based on temporal differences.
Optimal and approximate Qvalue functions for decentralized POMDPs
 J. Artificial Intelligence Research
"... Decisiontheoretic planning is a popular approach to sequential decision making problems, because it treats uncertainty in sensing and acting in a principled way. In singleagent frameworks like MDPs and POMDPs, planning can be carried out by resorting to Qvalue functions: an optimal Qvalue functi ..."
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Cited by 62 (27 self)
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Decisiontheoretic planning is a popular approach to sequential decision making problems, because it treats uncertainty in sensing and acting in a principled way. In singleagent frameworks like MDPs and POMDPs, planning can be carried out by resorting to Qvalue functions: an optimal Qvalue function Q ∗ is computed in a recursive manner by dynamic programming, and then an optimal policy is extracted from Q ∗. In this paper we study whether similar Qvalue functions can be defined for decentralized POMDP models (DecPOMDPs), and how policies can be extracted from such value functions. We define two forms of the optimal Qvalue function for DecPOMDPs: one that gives a normative description as the Qvalue function of an optimal pure joint policy and another one that is sequentially rational and thus gives a recipe for computation. This computation, however, is infeasible for all but the smallest problems. Therefore, we analyze various approximate Qvalue functions that allow for efficient computation. We describe how they relate, and we prove that they all provide an upper bound to the optimal Qvalue function Q ∗. Finally, unifying some previous approaches for solving DecPOMDPs, we describe a family of algorithms for extracting policies from such Qvalue functions, and perform an experimental evaluation on existing test problems, including a new firefighting benchmark problem. 1.
Role Allocation and Reallocation in Multiagent Teams: Towards A Practical Analysis
 In AAMAS
, 2003
"... Despite the success of the BDI approach to agent teamwork, initial role allocation (i.e. deciding which agents to allocate to key roles in the team) and role reallocation upon failure remain open challenges. What remain missing are analysis techniques to aid human developers in quantitatively compar ..."
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Cited by 55 (10 self)
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Despite the success of the BDI approach to agent teamwork, initial role allocation (i.e. deciding which agents to allocate to key roles in the team) and role reallocation upon failure remain open challenges. What remain missing are analysis techniques to aid human developers in quantitatively comparing different initial role allocations and competing role reallocation algorithms. To remedy this problem, this paper makes three key contributions. First, the paper introduces RMTDP (Rolebased Markov Team Decision Problem), an extension to MTDP [9], for quantitative evaluations of role allocation and reallocation approaches. Second, the paper illustrates an RMTDPbased methodology for not only comparing two competing algorithms for role reallocation, but also for identifying the types of domains where each algorithm is suboptimal, how much each algorithm can be improved and at what computational cost (complexity). Such algorithmic improvements are identified via a new automated procedure that generates a family of locally optimal policies for comparative evaluations. Third, since there are combinatorially many initial role allocations, evaluating each in RMTDP to identify the best is extremely difficult. Therefore, we introduce methods to exploit task decompositions among subteams to significantly prune the search space of initial role allocations. We present experimental results from two distinct domains.
PartialOrder Planning with Concurrent Interacting Actions
 Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research
, 2001
"... In order to generate plans for agents with multiple actuators, agent teams, or distributed ..."
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Cited by 46 (1 self)
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In order to generate plans for agents with multiple actuators, agent teams, or distributed