Learning Individually Inferred Communication for Multi-Agent Cooperation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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gang Ding, Tiejun Huang, Zongqing Lu


Communication lays the foundation for human cooperation. It is also crucial for multi-agent cooperation. However, existing work focuses on broadcast communication, which is not only impractical but also leads to information redundancy that could even impair the learning process. To tackle these difficulties, we propose Individually Inferred Communication (I2C), a simple yet effective model to enable agents to learn a prior for agent-agent communication. The prior knowledge is learned via causal inference and realized by a feed-forward neural network that maps the agent's local observation to a belief about who to communicate with. The influence of one agent on another is inferred via the joint action-value function in multi-agent reinforcement learning and quantified to label the necessity of agent-agent communication. Furthermore, the agent policy is regularized to better exploit communicated messages. Empirically, we show that I2C can not only reduce communication overhead but also improve the performance in a variety of multi-agent cooperative scenarios, comparing to existing methods.