Information Design in Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Yue Lin, Wenhao Li, Hongyuan Zha, Baoxiang Wang


Reinforcement learning (RL) is inspired by the way human infants and animals learn from the environment. The setting is somewhat idealized because, in actual tasks, other agents in the environment have their own goals and behave adaptively to the ego agent. To thrive in those environments, the agent needs to influence other agents so their actions become more helpful and less harmful. Research in computational economics distills two ways to influence others directly: by providing tangible goods (mechanism design) and by providing information (information design). This work investigates information design problems for a group of RL agents. The main challenges are two-fold. One is the information provided will immediately affect the transition of the agent trajectories, which introduces additional non-stationarity. The other is the information can be ignored, so the sender must provide information that the receiver is willing to respect. We formulate the Markov signaling game, and develop the notions of signaling gradient and the extended obedience constraints that address these challenges. Our algorithm is efficient on various mixed-motive tasks and provides further insights into computational economics. Our code is publicly available at