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In Frontiers in artificial intelligence

Independent reinforcement learning algorithms have no theoretical guarantees for finding the best policy in multi-agent settings. However, in practice, prior works have reported good performance with independent algorithms in some domains and bad performance in others. Moreover, a comprehensive study of the strengths and weaknesses of independent algorithms is lacking in the literature. In this paper, we carry out an empirical comparison of the performance of independent algorithms on seven PettingZoo environments that span the three main categories of multi-agent environments, i.e., cooperative, competitive, and mixed. For the cooperative setting, we show that independent algorithms can perform on par with multi-agent algorithms in fully-observable environments, while adding recurrence improves the learning of independent algorithms in partially-observable environments. In the competitive setting, independent algorithms can perform on par or better than multi-agent algorithms, even in more challenging environments. We also show that agents trained via independent algorithms learn to perform well individually, but fail to learn to cooperate with allies and compete with enemies in mixed environments.

Lee Ken Ming, Ganapathi Subramanian Sriram, Crowley Mark


artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning, multi-agent reinforcement learning, reinforcement learning