Counterfactual Multi-Agent Policy Gradients

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Many real-world problems, such as network packet routing and the coordination of autonomous vehicles, are naturally modelled as cooperative multi-agent systems. In this talk, I overview some of the key challenges in developing reinforcement learning methods that can efficiently learn decentralised policies for such systems. I also propose a new multi-agent actor-critic method called counterfactual multi-agent (COMA) policy gradients. COMA uses a centralised critic to estimate the Q-function and decentralised actors to optimise the agents' policies.  In addition, to address the challenges of multi-agent credit assignment, it uses a counterfactual baseline that marginalises out a single agent's action, while keeping the other agents' actions fixed. COMA also uses a critic representation that allows the counterfactual baseline to be computed efficiently in a single forward pass. Finally, I present results evaluating COMA in the testbed of StarCraft unit micromanagement. 



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