Solving Continuous-Time Transition-Independent DEC-MDP with Temporal Constraints


Zhengyu Yin, Kanna Rajan, and Milind Tambe. 2011. “Solving Continuous-Time Transition-Independent DEC-MDP with Temporal Constraints .” In AAMAS Workshop on Multiagent Sequential Decision Making in Uncertain Domains (MSDM).


Despite the impact of DEC-MDPs over the past decade, scaling to large problem domains has been difficult to achieve. The scale-up problem is exacerbated in DEC-MDPs with continuous states, which are critical in domains involving time; the latest algorithm (M-DPFP) does not scale-up beyond two agents and a handful of unordered tasks per agent. This paper is focused on meeting this challenge in continuous resource DEC-MDPs with two predominant contributions. First, it introduces a novel continuous time model for multi-agent planning problems that exploits transition independence in domains with graphical agent dependencies and temporal constraints. More importantly, it presents a new, iterative, locally optimal algorithm called SPAC that is a combination of the following key ideas: (1) defining a novel augmented CT-MDP such that solving this singleagent continuous time MDP provably provides an automatic best response to neighboring agents’ policies; (2) fast convolution to efficiently generate such augmented MDPs; (3) new enhanced lazy approximation algorithm to solve these augmented MDPs; (4) intelligent seeding of initial policies in the iterative process; (5) exploiting graph structure of reward dependencies to exploit local interactions for scalability. Our experiments show SPAC not only finds solutions substantially faster than M-DPFP with comparable quality, but also scales well to large teams of agents.
See also: 2011