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Who Needs to Know? Minimal Knowledge for Optimal Coordination

Niklas Lauffer · Ameesh Shah · Micah Carroll · Michael Dennis · Stuart Russell

Exhibit Hall 1 #441
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To optimally coordinate with others in cooperative games, it is often crucial to have information about one’s collaborators: successful driving requires understanding which side of the road to drive on. However, not every feature of collaborators is strategically relevant: the fine-grained acceleration of drivers may be ignored while maintaining optimal coordination. We show that there is a well-defined dichotomy between strategically relevant and irrelevant information. Moreover, we show that, in dynamic games, this dichotomy has a compact representation that can be efficiently computed via a Bellman backup operator. We apply this algorithm to analyze the strategically relevant information for tasks in both a standard and a partially observable version of the Overcooked environment. Theoretical and empirical results show that our algorithms are significantly more efficient than baselines. Videos are available at

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