Global Decision-Making via Local Economic Transactions

Jul 12, 2020

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This paper seeks to establish a mechanism for directing a collection of simple, specialized, self-interested agents to solve what traditionally are posed as monolithic single-agent sequential decision problems with a central global objective. What makes it challenging to use a decentralized approach to collectively optimize a central objective is the difficulty in characterizing the equilibrium strategy profile of non-cooperative games. To overcome this challenge, we design a mechanism for defining the learning environment of each primitive agent for which we know that the optimal solution for the global objective coincides with a Nash equilibrium strategy profile of the agents optimizing their own local objectives. We then derive a learning algorithm for the system and empirically test to what extent the desired equilibrium is achieved. The system functions as an economy of agents that learn the credit assignment process itself by buying and selling to each other the right to operate on the environment state. We also show that redundancy not only enforces credit conservation but also improves robustness against suboptimal equilibria.

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About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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