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Team-Partitioned, Opaque-Transition Reinforcement Learning

Peter Stone and Manuela Veloso gif
Computer Science Department
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Submitted to the 15th International Conference on Machine Learning, March 1998


In this paper, we present a novel multi-agent learning paradigm called team-partitioned, opaque-transition reinforcement learning (TPOT-RL). TPOT-RL introduces the concept of using action-dependent features to generalize the state space. In our work, we use a learned action-dependent feature space. TPOT-RL is an effective technique to allow a team of agents to learn to cooperate towards the achievement of a specific goal. It is an adaptation of traditional RL methods that is applicable in complex, non-Markovian, multi-agent domains with large state spaces and limited training opportunities. Multi-agent scenarios are opaque-transition, as team members are not always in full communication with one another and adversaries may affect the environment. Hence, each learner cannot rely on having knowledge of future state transitions after acting in the world. TPOT-RL enables teams of agents to learn effective policies with very few training examples even in the face of a large state space with large amounts of hidden state. The main responsible features are: dividing the learning task among team members, using a very coarse, action-dependent feature space, and allowing agents to gather reinforcement directly from observation of the environment. TPOT-RL is fully implemented and has been tested in the robotic soccer domain, a complex, multi-agent framework. This paper presents the algorithmic details of TPOT-RL as well as empirical results demonstrating the effectiveness of the developed multi-agent learning approach with learned features.

keywords: reinforcement learning, layered learning, multi-agent learning

Peter Stone
Fri Feb 27 18:45:43 EST 1998