SSoC: Learning Spontaneous and Self-Organizing Communication for Multi-Agent Collaboration

Xiangyu Kong, Jing Li, Bo Xin, Yizhou Wang

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Multi-agent collaboration is required by numerous real-world problems. Although distributed setting is usually adopted by practical systems, local range communication and information aggregation still matter in fulfilling complex tasks. For multi-agent reinforcement learning, many previous studies have been dedicated to design an effective communication architecture. However, existing models usually suffer from an ossified communication structure, e.g., most of them predefine a particular communication mode by specifying a fixed time frequency and spatial scope for agents to communicate regardless of necessity. Such design is incapable of dealing with multi-agent scenarios that are capricious and complicated, especially when only partial information is available. Motivated by this, we argue that the solution is to build a spontaneous and self-organizing communication (SSoC) learning scheme. By treating the communication behaviour as an explicit action, SSoC learns to organize communication in an effective and efficient way. Particularly, it enables each agent to spontaneously decide when and who to send messages based on its observed states. In this way, a dynamic inter-agent communication channel is established in an online and self-organizing manner. The agents also learn how to adaptively aggregate the received messages and its own hidden states to execute actions. Various experiments have been conducted to demonstrate that SSoC really learns intelligent message passing among agents located far apart. With such agile communications, we observe that effective collaboration tactics emerge which have not been mastered by the compared baselines.
  • Keywords: reinforcement learning, multi-agent learning, multi-agent communication, deep learning
  • TL;DR: This paper proposes a spontaneous and self-organizing communication (SSoC) learning scheme for multi-agent RL tasks.
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