Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)
Duc Thien Nguyen, Akshat Kumar, Hoong Chuin Lau
Decentralized (PO)MDPs provide an expressive framework for sequential decision making in a multiagent system. Given their computational complexity, recent research has focused on tractable yet practical subclasses of Dec-POMDPs. We address such a subclass called CDec-POMDP where the collective behavior of a population of agents affects the joint-reward and environment dynamics. Our main contribution is an actor-critic (AC) reinforcement learning method for optimizing CDec-POMDP policies. Vanilla AC has slow convergence for larger problems. To address this, we show how a particular decomposition of the approximate action-value function over agents leads to effective updates, and also derive a new way to train the critic based on local reward signals. Comparisons on a synthetic benchmark and a real world taxi fleet optimization problem show that our new AC approach provides better quality solutions than previous best approaches.