Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)
Roel Dobbe, David Fridovich-Keil, Claire Tomlin
Learning cooperative policies for multi-agent systems is often challenged by partial observability and a lack of coordination. In some settings, the structure of a problem allows a distributed solution with limited communication. Here, we consider a scenario where no communication is available, and instead we learn local policies for all agents that collectively mimic the solution to a centralized multi-agent static optimization problem. Our main contribution is an information theoretic framework based on rate distortion theory which facilitates analysis of how well the resulting fully decentralized policies are able to reconstruct the optimal solution. Moreover, this framework provides a natural extension that addresses which nodes an agent should communicate with to improve the performance of its individual policy.