Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Proceedings of the 38th Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI 2022), PMLR 180:938–948.


Used by permission.


In open multiagent systems, the set of agents operating in the environment changes over time and in ways that are nontrivial to predict. For example, if collaborative robots were tasked with fighting wildfires, they may run out of suppressants and be temporarily unavailable to assist their peers. Because an agent’s optimal action depends on the actions of others, each agent must not only predict the actions of its peers, but, before that, reason whether they are even present to perform an action. Addressing openness thus requires agents to model each other’s presence, which can be enhanced through agents communicating about their presence in the environment. At the same time, communicative acts can also incur costs (e.g., consuming limited bandwidth), and thus an agent must tradeoff the benefits of enhanced coordination with the costs of communication. We present a new principled, decision-theoretic method in the context provided by the recent communicative interactive POMDP framework for planning in open agent settings that balances this tradeoff. Simulations of multiagent wildfire suppression problems demonstrate how communication can improve planning in open agent environments, as well as how agents tradeoff the benefits and costs of communication under different scenarios.