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Reinforcement Learning 5

Moderator: Zhuoran Yang


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Tue 20 July 18:00 - 18:20 PDT

The Emergence of Individuality

Jiechuan Jiang · Zongqing Lu

Individuality is essential in human society. It induces the division of labor and thus improves the efficiency and productivity. Similarly, it should also be a key to multi-agent cooperation. Inspired by that individuality is of being an individual separate from others, we propose a simple yet efficient method for the emergence of individuality (EOI) in multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL). EOI learns a probabilistic classifier that predicts a probability distribution over agents given their observation and gives each agent an intrinsic reward of being correctly predicted by the classifier. The intrinsic reward encourages the agents to visit their own familiar observations, and learning the classifier by such observations makes the intrinsic reward signals stronger and in turn makes the agents more identifiable. To further enhance the intrinsic reward and promote the emergence of individuality, two regularizers are proposed to increase the discriminability of the classifier. We implement EOI on top of popular MARL algorithms. Empirically, we show that EOI outperforms existing methods in a variety of multi-agent cooperative scenarios.

Tue 20 July 18:20 - 18:25 PDT

DFAC Framework: Factorizing the Value Function via Quantile Mixture for Multi-Agent Distributional Q-Learning

Wei-Fang Sun · Cheng-Kuang Lee · Chun-Yi Lee

In fully cooperative multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) settings, the environments are highly stochastic due to the partial observability of each agent and the continuously changing policies of the other agents. To address the above issues, we integrate distributional RL and value function factorization methods by proposing a Distributional Value Function Factorization (DFAC) framework to generalize expected value function factorization methods to their distributional variants. DFAC extends the individual utility functions from deterministic variables to random variables, and models the quantile function of the total return as a quantile mixture. To validate DFAC, we demonstrate DFAC's ability to factorize a simple two-step matrix game with stochastic rewards and perform experiments on all Super Hard tasks of StarCraft Multi-Agent Challenge, showing that DFAC is able to outperform expected value function factorization baselines.

Tue 20 July 18:25 - 18:30 PDT

From Local to Global Norm Emergence: Dissolving Self-reinforcing Substructures with Incremental Social Instruments

Yiwei Liu · Jiamou Liu · Kaibin Wan · Zhan Qin · Zijian Zhang · Bakhadyr Khoussainov · Liehuang Zhu

Norm emergence is a process where agents in a multi-agent system establish self-enforcing conformity through repeated interactions. When such interactions are confined to a social topology, several self-reinforcing substructures (SRS) may emerge within the population. This prevents a formation of a global norm. We propose incremental social instruments (ISI) to dissolve these SRSs by creating ties between agents. Establishing ties requires some effort and cost. Hence, it is worth to design methods that build a small number of ties yet dissolve the SRSs. By using the notion of information entropy, we propose an indicator called the BA-ratio that measures the current SRSs. We find that by building ties with minimal BA-ratio, our ISI is effective in facilitating the global norm emergence. We explain this through our experiments and theoretical results. Furthermore, we propose the small-degree principle in minimising the BA-ratio that helps us to design efficient ISI algorithms for finding the optimal ties. Experiments on both synthetic and real-world network topologies demonstrate that our adaptive ISI is efficient at dissolving SRS.

Tue 20 July 18:30 - 18:35 PDT

Learning While Playing in Mean-Field Games: Convergence and Optimality

Qiaomin Xie · Zhuoran Yang · Zhaoran Wang · Andreea Minca

We study reinforcement learning in mean-field games. To achieve the Nash equilibrium, which consists of a policy and a mean-field state, existing algorithms require obtaining the optimal policy while fixing any mean-field state. In practice, however, the policy and the mean-field state evolve simultaneously, as each agent is learning while playing. To bridge such a gap, we propose a fictitious play algorithm, which alternatively updates the policy (learning) and the mean-field state (playing) by one step of policy optimization and gradient descent, respectively. Despite the nonstationarity induced by such an alternating scheme, we prove that the proposed algorithm converges to the Nash equilibrium with an explicit convergence rate. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first provably efficient algorithm that achieves learning while playing via alternating updates.

Tue 20 July 18:35 - 18:40 PDT

Learning Fair Policies in Decentralized Cooperative Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

Matthieu Zimmer · Claire Glanois · Umer Siddique · Paul Weng

We consider the problem of learning fair policies in (deep) cooperative multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL). We formalize it in a principled way as the problem of optimizing a welfare function that explicitly encodes two important aspects of fairness: efficiency and equity. We provide a theoretical analysis of the convergence of policy gradient for this problem. As a solution method, we propose a novel neural network architecture, which is composed of two sub-networks specifically designed for taking into account these two aspects of fairness. In experiments, we demonstrate the importance of the two sub-networks for fair optimization. Our overall approach is general as it can accommodate any (sub)differentiable welfare function. Therefore, it is compatible with various notions of fairness that have been proposed in the literature (e.g., lexicographic maximin, generalized Gini social welfare function, proportional fairness). Our method is generic and can be implemented in various MARL settings: centralized training and decentralized execution, or fully decentralized. Finally, we experimentally validate our approach in various domains and show that it can perform much better than previous methods, both in terms of efficiency and equity.

Tue 20 July 18:40 - 18:45 PDT

Augmented World Models Facilitate Zero-Shot Dynamics Generalization From a Single Offline Environment

Philip Ball · Cong Lu · Jack Parker-Holder · Stephen Roberts

Reinforcement learning from large-scale offline datasets provides us with the ability to learn policies without potentially unsafe or impractical exploration. Significant progress has been made in the past few years in dealing with the challenge of correcting for differing behavior between the data collection and learned policies. However, little attention has been paid to potentially changing dynamics when transferring a policy to the online setting, where performance can be up to 90% reduced for existing methods. In this paper we address this problem with Augmented World Models (AugWM). We augment a learned dynamics model with simple transformations that seek to capture potential changes in physical properties of the robot, leading to more robust policies. We not only train our policy in this new setting, but also provide it with the sampled augmentation as a context, allowing it to adapt to changes in the environment. At test time we learn the context in a self-supervised fashion by approximating the augmentation which corresponds to the new environment. We rigorously evaluate our approach on over 100 different changed dynamics settings, and show that this simple approach can significantly improve the zero-shot generalization of a recent state-of-the-art baseline, often achieving successful policies where the baseline fails.

Tue 20 July 18:45 - 18:50 PDT