Cooperative Multi-player Bandit Optimization

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Ilai Bistritz, Nicholas Bambos


<p>Consider a team of cooperative players that take actions in a networked-environment. At each turn, each player chooses an action and receives a reward that is an unknown function of all the players' actions. The goal of the team of players is to learn to play together the action profile that maximizes the sum of their rewards. However, players cannot observe the actions or rewards of other players, and can only get this information by communicating with their neighbors. We design a distributed learning algorithm that overcomes the informational bias players have towards maximizing the rewards of nearby players they got more information about. We assume twice continuously differentiable reward functions and constrained convex and compact action sets. Our communication graph is a random time-varying graph that follows an ergodic Markov chain. We prove that even if at every turn players take actions based only on the small random subset of the players' rewards that they know, our algorithm converges with probability 1 to the set of stationary points of (projected) gradient ascent on the sum of rewards function. Hence, if the sum of rewards is concave, then the algorithm converges with probability 1 to the optimal action profile. </p>