Mechanism Design and Reinforcement Learning

Optimal Coordinated Planning Amongst Self-Interested Agents with Private State by Cavallo, Parkes and Singhy: Consider a multi-agent system in a dynamic and uncertain environment. Each agent's local decision-problem is modeled as a Markov decision process (MDP) and agents must coordinate on a joint action in each period, which provides a reward to each agent and causes local state transitions. A social planner knows the model of every agent's MDP and wants to implement the optimal joint policy, but agents are self-interested and have private local state. We provide an incentive-compatible mechanism for eliciting state information that achieves the optimal joint plan in a Markov perfect equilibrium of the induced stochastic game. In the special case in which local problems are Markov chains and agents compete to take a single action in each period, we leverage Gittins allocation indices to provide an efficient factored algorithm and distribute computation of the optimal policy among the agents. Distributed, optimal coordinated learning in a multiagent variant of the multi-armed bandit problem is obtained as a special case.
Approximated Efficient Online Mechansim Design by Parkes, Singh, & Yanovsky: Online mechanism design (OMD) addresses the problem of sequential decision making in a stochastic environment with multiple self-interested agents. The goal in OMD is to make value-maximizing decisions despite this self-interest. In previous work we presented a Markov decision process (MDP)-based approach to OMD in large-scale problem domains. In practice the underlying MDP needed to solve OMD is too large and hence the mechanism must consider approximations. This raises the possibility that agents may be able to exploit the approximation for selfish gain. We adopt sparse-sampling-based MDP algorithms to implement
An MDP-Based Approach to Online Mechansim Design by Parkes & Singh: Online mechanism design (MD) considers the problem of providing incentives to implement desired system-wide outcomes in systems with self-interested agents that arrive and depart dynamically. Agents can choose to misrepresent their arrival and departure times, in addition to information about their value for different outcomes. We consider the problem of maximizing the total longterm value of the system despite the self-interest of agents. The online MD problem induces a Markov Decision Process (MDP), which when solved can be used to implement optimal policies in a truth-revealing Bayesian-Nash equilibrium.