Trust Region Bounds for Decentralized PPO Under Non-stationarity


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We present trust region bounds for optimizing decentralized policies in cooperative Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning (MARL), which holds even when the transition dynamics are non-stationary. This new analysis provides a theoretical understanding of the strong performance of two recent actor-critic methods for MARL, which both rely on independent ratios, i.e., computing probability ratios separately for each agent's policy. We show that, despite the non-stationarity that independent ratios cause, a monotonic improvement guarantee still arises as a result of enforcing the trust region constraint over all decentralized policies. We also show this trust region constraint can be effectively enforced in a principled way by bounding independent ratios based on the number of agents in training, providing a theoretical foundation for proximal ratio clipping. Finally, our empirical results support the hypothesis that the strong performance of IPPO and MAPPO is a direct result of enforcing such a trust region constraint via clipping in centralized training, and tuning the hyperparameters with regards to the number of agents, as predicted by our theoretical analysis.
decentralized ppo,trust,region,non-stationarity
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