Breaking the Curse of Multiagency: Provably Efficient Decentralized Multi-Agent RL with Function Approximation

Yuanhao Wang, Qinghua Liu, Yu Bai, Chi Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A unique challenge in Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning (MARL) is the curse of multiagency, where the description length of the game as well as the complexity of many existing learning algorithms scale exponentially with the number of agents. While recent works successfully address this challenge under the model of tabular Markov Games, their mechanisms critically rely on the number of states being finite and small, and do not extend to practical scenarios with enormous state spaces where function approximation must be used to approximate value functions or policies. This paper presents the first line of MARL algorithms that provably resolve the curse of multiagency under function approximation. We design a new decentralized algorithm—V-Learning with Policy Replay, which gives the first polynomial sample complexity results for learning approximate Coarse Correlated Equilibria (CCEs) of Markov Games under decentralized linear function approximation. Our algorithm always outputs Markov CCEs, and achieves an optimal rate of Oe−2) for finding ε-optimal solutions. Also, when restricted to the tabular case, our result improves over the current best decentralized result Oe−3) for finding Markov CCEs. We further present an alternative algorithm—Decentralized Optimistic Policy Mirror Descent, which finds policy-class-restricted CCEs using a polynomial number of samples. In exchange for learning a weaker version of CCEs, this algorithm applies to a wider range of problems under generic function approximation, such as linear quadratic games and MARL problems with low “marginal” Eluder dimension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2793-2848
Number of pages56
JournalProceedings of Machine Learning Research
StatePublished - 2023
Event36th Annual Conference on Learning Theory, COLT 2023 - Bangalore, India
Duration: Jul 12 2023Jul 15 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Statistics and Probability


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