Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning for Cooperative Coded Caching via Homotopy Optimization

Xiongwei Wu, Jun Li, Ming Xiao, P. C. Ching, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Introducing cooperative coded caching into small cell networks is a promising approach to reducing traffic loads. By encoding content via maximum distance separable (MDS) codes, coded fragments can be collectively cached at small-cell base stations (SBSs) to enhance caching efficiency. However, content popularity is usually time-varying and unknown in practice. As a result, cached content is anticipated to be intelligently updated by taking into account limited caching storage and interactive impacts among SBSs. In response to these challenges, we propose a multi-agent deep reinforcement learning (DRL) framework to intelligently update cached content in dynamic environments. With the goal of minimizing long-term expected fronthaul traffic loads, we first model dynamic coded caching as a cooperative multi-agent Markov decision process. Owing to the use of MDS coding, the resulting decision-making falls into a class of constrained reinforcement learning problems with continuous decision variables. To deal with this difficulty, we custom-build a novel DRL algorithm by embedding homotopy optimization into a deep deterministic policy gradient formalism. Next, to empower the caching framework with an effective trade-off between complexity and performance, we propose centralized, and partially and fully decentralized caching controls by applying the derived DRL approach. Simulation results demonstrate the superior performance of the proposed multi-agent framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9384286
Pages (from-to)5258-5272
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • MDS codes
  • Small cell networks
  • deep multi-agent reinforcement learning
  • homotopy optimization


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