Option-critic in cooperative multi-agent systems

In this paper, we investigate learning temporal abstractions in cooperative multi-agent systems using the options framework (Sutton et al, 1999) and provide a model-free algorithm for this problem. First, we address the planning problem for the decentralized POMDP represented by the multi-agent system, by introducing a common information approach. We use common beliefs and broadcasting to solve an equivalent centralized POMDP problem. Then, we propose the Distributed Option Critic (DOC) algorithm, motivated by the work of Bacon et al (2017) in the single-agent setting. Our approach uses centralized option evaluation and decentralized intra-option improvement. We analyze theoretically the asymptotic convergence of DOC and validate its performance in grid-world environments, where we implement DOC using a deep neural network. Our experiments show that DOC performs competitively with state-of-the-art algorithms and that it is scalable when the number of agents increases.

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