Machine Learning Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Multi-Robot Negotiation:
Approximating the Set of Subgame Perfect Equilibria
in General-Sum Stochastic Games

Chris Murray, Geoffrey Gordon

October 2006


Keywords: Stochastic games, subgame-perfect Nash equilibria, Q Learning

In real-world planning problems, we must reason not only about our own goals, but about the goals of other agents with which we may interact. Often these agents' goals are neither completely aligned with our own nor directly opposed to them. Instead there are opportunities for cooperation: by joining forces, the agents can all achieve higher utility than they could separately. But, in order to cooperate, the agents must negotiate a mutually acceptable plan from among the many possible ones, and each agent must trust that the others will follow their parts of the deal. Research in multi-agent planning has often avoided the problem of making sure that all agents have an incentive to follow a proposed joint plan. On the other hand, while game theoretic algorithms handle incentives correctly, they often don't scale to large planning problems. In this paper we attempt to bridge the gap between these two lines of research: we present an efficient game-theoretic approximate planning algorithm, along with a negotiation protocol which encourages agents to compute and agree on joint plans that are fair and optimal in a sense defined below. We demonstrate our algorithm and protocol on two simple robotic planning problems.

27 pages

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