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LDSA: Learning Dynamic Subtask Assignment in Cooperative Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning
Mingyu Yang · Jian Zhao · Xunhan Hu · Wengang Zhou · Jiangcheng Zhu · Houqiang Li


Cooperative multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) has made prominent progress in recent years. For training efficiency and scalability, most of the MARL algorithms make all agents share the same policy or value network. However, in many complex multi-agent tasks, different agents are expected to possess specific abilities to handle different subtasks. In those scenarios, sharing parameters indiscriminately may lead to similar behavior across all agents, which will limit the exploration efficiency and degrade the final performance. To balance the training complexity and the diversity of agent behavior, we propose a novel framework to learn dynamic subtask assignment (LDSA) in cooperative MARL. Specifically, we first introduce a subtask encoder to construct a vector representation for each subtask according to its identity. To reasonably assign agents to different subtasks, we propose an ability-based subtask selection strategy, which can dynamically group agents with similar abilities into the same subtask. In this way, agents dealing with the same subtask share their learning of specific abilities and different subtasks correspond to different specific abilities. We further introduce two regularizers to increase the representation difference between subtasks and stabilize the training by discouraging agents from frequently changing subtasks, respectively. Empirical results show that LDSA learns reasonable and effective subtask assignment for better collaboration and significantly improves the learning performance on the challenging StarCraft II micromanagement benchmark and Google Research Football.

Author Information

Mingyu Yang (University of Science and Technology of China)
Jian Zhao (University of Science and Technology of China)
Xunhan Hu
Wengang Zhou (University of Science and Technology of China (USTC))
Jiangcheng Zhu
Houqiang Li (University of Science and Technology of China)

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