Solving Transition Independent Decentralized Markov Decision Processes

R. Becker, S. Zilberstein, V. Lesser, and C. V. Goldman

Formal treatment of collaborative multi-agent systems has been lagging behind the rapid progress in sequential decision making by individual agents. Recent work in the area of decentralized Markov Decision Processes (MDPs) has contributed to closing this gap, but the computational complexity of these models remains a serious obstacle. To overcome this complexity barrier, we identify a specific class of decentralized MDPs in which the agents’ transitions are independent. The class consists of independent collaborating agents that are tied together through a structured global reward function that depends on all of their histories of states and actions. We present a novel algorithm for solving this class of problems and examine its properties, both as an optimal algorithm and as an anytime algorithm. To our best knowledge, this is the first algorithm to optimally solve a non-trivial subclass of decentralized MDPs. It lays the foundation for further work in this area on both exact and approximate algorithms.

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