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SPD: Synergy Pattern Diversifying Oriented Unsupervised Multi-agent Reinforcement Learning
Yuhang Jiang · Jianzhun Shao · Shuncheng He · Hongchang Zhang · Xiangyang Ji


Reinforcement learning typically relies heavily on a well-designed reward signal, which gets more challenging in cooperative multi-agent reinforcement learning. Alternatively, unsupervised reinforcement learning (URL) has delivered on its promise in the recent past to learn useful skills and explore the environment without external supervised signals. These approaches mainly aimed for the single agent to reach distinguishable states, insufficient for multi-agent systems due to that each agent interacts with not only the environment, but also the other agents. We propose Synergy Pattern Diversifying Oriented Unsupervised Multi-agent Reinforcement Learning (SPD) to learn generic coordination policies for agents with no extrinsic reward. Specifically, we devise the Synergy Pattern Graph (SPG), a graph depicting the relationships of agents at each time step. Furthermore, we propose an episode-wise divergence measurement to approximate the discrepancy of synergy patterns. To overcome the challenge of sparse return, we decompose the discrepancy of synergy patterns to per-time-step pseudo-reward. Empirically, we show the capacity of SPD to acquire meaningful coordination policies, such as maintaining specific formations in Multi-Agent Particle Environment and pass-and-shoot in Google Research Football. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the same instructive pretrained policy's parameters can serve as a good initialization for a series of downstream tasks' policies, achieving higher data efficiency and outperforming state-of-the-art approaches in Google Research Football.

Author Information

Yuhang Jiang (Department of Automation, Tsinghua University)
Jianzhun Shao (Tsinghua University)
Shuncheng He (Tsinghua University)
Hongchang Zhang (Tsinghua University)
Xiangyang Ji (Tsinghua University)

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