Partially Observable Mean Field Reinforcement Learning

Ganapathi Subramanian, Sriram,
Taylor, Matthew,
*Crowley, Mark*,
and Poupart, Pascal

*In Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems (AAMAS)*
2021

Traditional multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithms are not scalable to environments with more than a few agents, since these algorithms are exponential in the number of agents. Recent research has introduced successful methods to scale multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithms to many agent scenarios using mean field theory. Previous work in this field assumes that an agent has access to exact cumulative metrics regarding the mean field behaviour of the system, which it can then use to take its actions. In this paper, we relax this assumption and maintain a distribution to model the uncertainty regarding the mean field of the system. We consider two different settings for this problem. In the first setting, only agents in a fixed neighbourhood are visible, while in the second setting, the visibility of agents is determined at random based on distances. For each of these settings, we introduce a Q-learning based algorithm that can learn effectively. We prove that this Q-learning estimate stays very close to the Nash Q-value (under a common set of assumptions) for the first setting. We also empirically show our algorithms outperform multiple baselines in three different games in the MAgents framework, which supports large environments with many agents learning simultaneously to achieve possibly distinct goals.