A Bilinear Programming Approach for Multiagent Planning

M. Petrik and S. Zilberstein

Multiagent planning and coordination problems are common and known to be computationally hard. We show that a wide range of two-agent problems can be formulated as bilinear programs. We present a successive approximation algorithm that significantly outperforms the coverage set algorithm, which is the state-of-the-art method for this class of multiagent problems. Because the algorithm is formulated for bilinear programs, it is more general and simpler to implement. The new algorithm can be terminated at any time and-unlike the coverage set algorithm-it facilitates the derivation of a useful online performance bound. It is also much more efficient, on average reducing the computation time of the optimal solution by about four orders of magnitude. Finally, we introduce an automatic dimensionality reduction method that improves the effectiveness of the algorithm, extending its applicability to new domains and providing a new way to analyze a subclass of bilinear programs.


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