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Accepted Paper at ECML PKDD 2022

Reinforcement Learning for Multi-Agent Stochastic Resource Collection



Niklas Strauß, David Winkel, Max Berrendorf, Matthias Schubert


European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases (ECML PKDD 2022),
19–23 September 2022, Grenoble, France



Stochastic Resource Collection (SRC) describes tasks where an agent tries to collect a maximal amount of dynamic resources while navigating through a road network. An instance of SRC is the traveling officer problem (TOP), where a parking officer tries to maximize the number of fined parking violations. In contrast to vehicular routing problems, in SRC tasks, resources might appear and disappear by an unknown stochastic process, and thus, the task is inherently more dynamic. In most applications of SRC, such as TOP, covering realistic scenarios requires more than one agent. However, directly applying multi-agent approaches to SRC yields challenges considering temporal abstractions and inter-agent coordination. In this paper, we propose a novel multi-agent reinforcement learning method for the task of Multi-Agent Stochastic Resource Collection (MASRC). To this end, we formalize MASRC as a Semi-Markov Game which allows the use of temporal abstraction and asynchronous actions by various agents. In addition, we propose a novel architecture trained with independent learning, which integrates the information about collaborating agents and allows us to take advantage of temporal abstractions. Our agents are evaluated on the multiple traveling officer problem, an instance of MASRC where multiple officers try to maximize the number of fined parking violations. Our simulation environment is based on real-world sensor data. Results demonstrate that our proposed agent is able to beat various state-of-the-art approaches.