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158
Solving transition independent decentralized Markov decision processes
 JAIR
, 2004
"... Formal treatment of collaborative multiagent systems has been lagging behind the rapid progress in sequential decision making by individual agents. Recent work in the area of decentralized Markov Decision Processes (MDPs) has contributed to closing this gap, but the computational complexity of thes ..."
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Cited by 106 (13 self)
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Formal treatment of collaborative multiagent systems has been lagging behind the rapid progress in sequential decision making by individual agents. Recent work in the area of decentralized Markov Decision Processes (MDPs) has contributed to closing this gap, but the computational complexity of these models remains a serious obstacle. To overcome this complexity barrier, we identify a specific class of decentralized MDPs in which the agents ’ transitions are independent. The class consists of independent collaborating agents that are tied together through a structured global reward function that depends on all of their histories of states and actions. We present a novel algorithm for solving this class of problems and examine its properties, both as an optimal algorithm and as an anytime algorithm. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first algorithm to optimally solve a nontrivial subclass of decentralized MDPs. It lays the foundation for further work in this area on both exact and approximate algorithms. 1.
Networked Distributed POMDPs: A Synthesis of Distributed Constraint Optimization and POMDPs
, 2005
"... In many realworld multiagent applications such as distributed sensor nets, a network of agents is formed based on each agent’s limited interactions with a small number of neighbors. While distributed POMDPs capture the realworld uncertainty in multiagent domains, they fail to exploit such locality ..."
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Cited by 97 (20 self)
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In many realworld multiagent applications such as distributed sensor nets, a network of agents is formed based on each agent’s limited interactions with a small number of neighbors. While distributed POMDPs capture the realworld uncertainty in multiagent domains, they fail to exploit such locality of interaction. Distributed constraint optimization (DCOP) captures the locality of interaction but fails to capture planning under uncertainty. This paper present a new model synthesized from distributed POMDPs and DCOPs, called Networked Distributed POMDPs (NDPOMDPs). Exploiting network structure enables us to present two novel algorithms for NDPOMDPs: a distributed policy generation algorithm that performs local search and a systematic policy search that is guaranteed to reach the global optimal.
Decentralized control of cooperative systems: Categorization and complexity analysis
 Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research
, 2004
"... Decentralized control of cooperative systems captures the operation of a group of decisionmakers that share a single global objective. The difficulty in solving optimally such problems arises when the agents lack full observability of the global state of the system when they operate. The general pr ..."
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Cited by 88 (9 self)
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Decentralized control of cooperative systems captures the operation of a group of decisionmakers that share a single global objective. The difficulty in solving optimally such problems arises when the agents lack full observability of the global state of the system when they operate. The general problem has been shown to be NEXPcomplete. In this paper, we identify classes of decentralized control problems whose complexity ranges between NEXP and P. In particular, we study problems characterized by independent transitions, independent observations, and goaloriented objective functions. Two algorithms are shown to solve optimally useful classes of goaloriented decentralized processes in polynomial time. This paper also studies information sharing among the decisionmakers, which can improve their performance. We distinguish between three ways in which agents can exchange information: indirect communication, direct communication and sharing state features that are not controlled by the agents. Our analysis shows that for every class of problems we consider, introducing direct or indirect communication does not change the worstcase complexity. The results provide a better understanding of the complexity of decentralized control problems that arise in practice and facilitate the development of planning algorithms for these problems. 1.
Collaborative Multiagent Reinforcement Learning by Payoff Propagation
 JOURNAL OF MACHINE LEARNING RESEARCH
, 2006
"... In this article we describe a set of scalable techniques for learning the behavior of a group of agents in a collaborative multiagent setting. As a basis we use the framework of coordination graphs of Guestrin, Koller, and Parr (2002a) which exploits the dependencies between agents to decompose t ..."
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Cited by 65 (2 self)
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In this article we describe a set of scalable techniques for learning the behavior of a group of agents in a collaborative multiagent setting. As a basis we use the framework of coordination graphs of Guestrin, Koller, and Parr (2002a) which exploits the dependencies between agents to decompose the global payoff function into a sum of local terms. First, we deal with the singlestate case and describe a payoff propagation algorithm that computes the individual actions that approximately maximize the global payoff function. The method can be viewed as the decisionmaking analogue of belief propagation in Bayesian networks. Second, we focus on learning the behavior of the agents in sequential decisionmaking tasks. We introduce different modelfree reinforcementlearning techniques, unitedly called Sparse Cooperative Qlearning, which approximate the global actionvalue function based on the topology of a coordination graph, and perform updates using the contribution of the individual agents to the maximal global action value. The combined use of an edgebased decomposition of the actionvalue function and the payoff propagation algorithm for efficient action selection, result in an approach that scales only linearly in the problem size. We provide experimental evidence that our method outperforms related multiagent reinforcementlearning methods based on temporal differences.
Optimal and approximate Qvalue functions for decentralized POMDPs
 J. Artificial Intelligence Research
"... Decisiontheoretic planning is a popular approach to sequential decision making problems, because it treats uncertainty in sensing and acting in a principled way. In singleagent frameworks like MDPs and POMDPs, planning can be carried out by resorting to Qvalue functions: an optimal Qvalue functi ..."
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Cited by 62 (27 self)
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Decisiontheoretic planning is a popular approach to sequential decision making problems, because it treats uncertainty in sensing and acting in a principled way. In singleagent frameworks like MDPs and POMDPs, planning can be carried out by resorting to Qvalue functions: an optimal Qvalue function Q ∗ is computed in a recursive manner by dynamic programming, and then an optimal policy is extracted from Q ∗. In this paper we study whether similar Qvalue functions can be defined for decentralized POMDP models (DecPOMDPs), and how policies can be extracted from such value functions. We define two forms of the optimal Qvalue function for DecPOMDPs: one that gives a normative description as the Qvalue function of an optimal pure joint policy and another one that is sequentially rational and thus gives a recipe for computation. This computation, however, is infeasible for all but the smallest problems. Therefore, we analyze various approximate Qvalue functions that allow for efficient computation. We describe how they relate, and we prove that they all provide an upper bound to the optimal Qvalue function Q ∗. Finally, unifying some previous approaches for solving DecPOMDPs, we describe a family of algorithms for extracting policies from such Qvalue functions, and perform an experimental evaluation on existing test problems, including a new firefighting benchmark problem. 1.
Decentralized Markov decision processes with eventdriven interactions
 in: Proceedings of the 3rd International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems
"... Decentralized MDPs provide a powerful formal framework for planning in multiagent systems, but the complexity of the model limits its usefulness. We study in this paper a class of DECMDPs that restricts the interactions between the agents to a structured, eventdriven dependency. These dependencie ..."
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Cited by 53 (7 self)
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Decentralized MDPs provide a powerful formal framework for planning in multiagent systems, but the complexity of the model limits its usefulness. We study in this paper a class of DECMDPs that restricts the interactions between the agents to a structured, eventdriven dependency. These dependencies can model locking a shared resource or temporal enabling constraints, both of which arise frequently in practice. The complexity of this class of problems is shown to be no harder than exponential in the number of states and doubly exponential in the number of dependencies. Since the number of dependencies is much smaller than the number of states for many problems, this is significantly better than the doubly exponential (in the state space) complexity of DECMDPs. We also demonstrate how an algorithm we previously developed can be used to solve problems in this class both optimally and approximately. Experimental work indicates that this solution technique is significantly faster than a naive policy search approach. 1.
Security in multiagent systems by policy randomization
"... Security in multiagent systems is commonly defined as the ability of the system to deal with intentional threats from other agents. This paper focuses on domains where such intentional threats are caused by unseen adversaries whose actions or payoffs are unknown. In such domains, action randomizatio ..."
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Cited by 49 (26 self)
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Security in multiagent systems is commonly defined as the ability of the system to deal with intentional threats from other agents. This paper focuses on domains where such intentional threats are caused by unseen adversaries whose actions or payoffs are unknown. In such domains, action randomization can effectively deteriorate an adversary’s capability to predict and exploit an agent/agent team’s actions. Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to intentional randomization of agents ’ policies in singleagent or decentralized (PO)MDPs without significantly sacrificing rewards or breaking down coordination. This paper provides two key contributions to remedy this situation. First, it provides three novel algorithms, one based on a nonlinear program and two based on linear programs (LP), to randomize singleagent policies, while attaining a certain level of expected reward. Second, it provides Rolling Down Randomization (RDR), a new algorithm that efficiently generates randomized policies for decentralized POMDPs via the singleagent LP method.
Exploiting locality of interaction in factored DecPOMDPs
 In Proc. Int. Joint Conf. Autonomous Agents and Multi Agent Systems
, 2008
"... Decentralized partially observable Markov decision processes (DecPOMDPs) constitute an expressive framework for multiagent planning under uncertainty, but solving them is provably intractable. We demonstrate how their scalability can be improved by exploiting locality of interaction between agents ..."
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Cited by 45 (21 self)
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Decentralized partially observable Markov decision processes (DecPOMDPs) constitute an expressive framework for multiagent planning under uncertainty, but solving them is provably intractable. We demonstrate how their scalability can be improved by exploiting locality of interaction between agents in a factored representation. Factored DecPOMDP representations have been proposed before, but only for DecPOMDPs whose transition and observation models are fully independent. Such strong assumptions simplify the planning problem, but result in models with limited applicability. By contrast, we consider general factored DecPOMDPs for which we analyze the model dependencies over space (locality of interaction) and time (horizon of the problem). We also present a formulation of decomposable value functions. Together, our results allow us to exploit the problem structure as well as heuristics in a single framework that is based on collaborative graphical Bayesian games (CGBGs). A preliminary experiment shows a speedup of two orders of magnitude.