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Learning to Communicate to Solve Riddles with Deep Distributed Recurrent Q−Networks

Jakob N. Foerster‚ Yannis M. Assael‚ Nando de Freitas and Shimon Whiteson


We propose deep distributed recurrent Q-networks (DDRQN), which enable teams of agents to learn to solve communication-based coordination tasks. In these tasks, the agents are not given any pre-designed communication protocol. Therefore, in order to successfully communicate, they must first automatically develop and agree upon their own communication protocol. We present empirical results on two multi-agent learning problems based on well-known riddles, demonstrating that DDRQN can successfully solve such tasks and discover elegant communication protocols to do so. To our knowledge, this is the first time deep reinforcement learning has succeeded in learning communication protocols. In addition, we present ablation experiments that confirm that each of the main components of the DDRQN architecture are critical to its success.