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Multiagent Learning in the Presence of Agents with Limitations

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Doctoral thesis

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Learning to act in a multiagent environment is a challenging problem. Optimal behavior for one agent depends upon the behavior of the other agents, which are learning as well. A learning agent must effectively compensate for its own limitations while exploiting the limitations of the other agents. My thesis research focuses on these two challenges, namely multiagent learning and limitations, and includes four main contributions. First, the thesis introduces the novel concepts of a variable learning rate and the WoLF Win or Learn Fast principle to account for other learning agents. Second, the thesis contributes an analysis of the effect of limitations on the game-theoretic concept of Nash equilibria. The existence of equilibria is important if multiagent learning techniques, which often depend on the concept, are to be applied to realistic problems where limitations are unavoidable. The thesis introduces a general model for the effect of limitations on agent behavior. Third, the thesis introduces GraWoLF, a general-purpose, scalable, multiagent learning algorithm. Fourth, the thesis describes the CMDragons robot soccer team strategy for adapting to an unknown opponent. The strategy uses a notion of plays as coordinated team plans. The selection of team plans is the decision point for adapting the team to its current opponent, based on the outcome of previously executed plays. The CMDragons were the first RoboCup robot team to employ online learning to autonomously alter its behavior during the course of a game. These four contributions demonstrate that it is possible to effectively learn to act in the presence of other learning agents in complex domains when agents may have limitations. The introduced learning techniques are proven effective in a class of small games, and demonstrated empirically across a wide range of settings that increase in complexity.

Subject Categories:

  • Operations Research
  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Cybernetics

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