QUICR-learning for Multi-Agent Coordination

Adrian Agogino, Kagan, Tumer

Coordinating multiple agents that need to perform a sequence of actions to maximize a system level reward requires solving two distinct credit assignment problems. First, credit must be assigned for an action taken at time step t that results in a reward at time step t' > t. Second, credit must be assigned for the contribution of agent i to the overall system performance. The first credit assignment problem is typically addressed with temporal difference methods such as Q-learning. The second credit assignment problem is typically addressed by creating custom reward functions. To address both credit assignment problems simultaneously, we propose the "Q Updates with Immediate Counterfactual Rewards-learning" (QUICR-learning) designed to improve both the convergence properties and performance of Q-learning in large multi-agent problems. QUICR-learning is based on previous work on single-time-step counterfactual rewards described by the collectives framework. Results on a traffic congestion problem shows that QUICR-learning is significantly better than a Q-learner using collectives-based (single-time-step counterfactual) rewards. In addition QUICR-learning provides significant gains over conventional and local Q-learning. Additional results on a multi-agent grid-world problem show that the improvements due to QUICR-learning are not domain specific and can provide up to a ten fold increase in performance over existing methods.

Subjects: 7.1 Multi-Agent Systems; 12.1 Reinforcement Learning


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