Event-Based Communication in Distributed Q-Learning

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Abstract

We present an approach to reduce the communication of information needed on a Distributed Q-Learning system inspired by Event Triggered Control (ETC) techniques. We consider a baseline scenario of a Distributed Q-Learning problem on a Markov Decision Process (MDP). Following an event-based approach, N agents sharing a value function explore the MDP and compute a trajectory-dependent triggering signal which they use distributedly to decide when to communicate information to a central learner in charge of computing updates on the action-value function. These decision functions form an Event Based distributed Q learning system (EBd-Q), and we derive convergence guarantees resulting from the reduction of communication. We then apply the proposed algorithm to a cooperative path planning problem, and show how the agents are able to learn optimal trajectories communicating a fraction of the information. Additionally, we discuss what effects (desired and undesired) these event-based approaches have on the learning processes studied, and how they can be applied to more complex multi-agent systems.