Multi-Agent Meta-Reinforcement Learning: Sharper Convergence Rates with Task Similarity

Weichao Mao, Haoran Qiu, Chen Wang, Hubertus Franke, Zbigniew Kalbarczyk, Ravishankar K. Iyer, Tamer Başar

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) has primarily focused on solving a single task in isolation, while in practice the environment is often evolving, leaving many related tasks to be solved. In this paper, we investigate the benefits of meta-learning in solving multiple MARL tasks collectively. We establish the first line of theoretical results for meta-learning in a wide range of fundamental MARL settings, including learning Nash equilibria in two-player zero-sum Markov games and Markov potential games, as well as learning coarse correlated equilibria in general-sum Markov games. Under natural notions of task similarity, we show that meta-learning achieves provable sharper convergence to various game-theoretical solution concepts than learning each task separately. As an important intermediate step, we develop multiple MARL algorithms with initialization-dependent convergence guarantees. Such algorithms integrate optimistic policy mirror descents with stage-based value updates, and their refined convergence guarantees (nearly) recover the best known results even when a good initialization is unknown. To our best knowledge, such results are also new and might be of independent interest. We further provide numerical simulations to corroborate our theoretical findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - 2023
Event37th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2023 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Dec 10 2023Dec 16 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


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