Multi-Agent Patrolling under Uncertainty and Threats

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We investigate a multi-agent patrolling problem where information is distributed alongside threats in environments with uncertainties. Specifically, the information and threat at each location are independently modelled as multi-state Markov chains, whose states are not observed until the location is visited by an agent. While agents will obtain information at a location, they may also suffer damage from the threat at that location. Therefore, the goal of the agents is to gather as much information as possible while mitigating the damage incurred. To address this challenge, we formulate the single-agent patrolling problem as a Partially Observable Markov Decision Process (POMDP) and propose a computationally efficient algorithm to solve this model. Building upon this, to compute patrols for multiple agents, the single-agent algorithm is extended for each agent with the aim of maximising its marginal contribution to the team. We empirically evaluate our algorithm on problems of multi-agent patrolling and show that it outperforms a baseline algorithm up to 44% for 10 agents and by 21% for 15 agents in large domains.

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 author = {Shaofei Chen and Feng Wu and Lincheng Shen and Jing Chen and Sarvapali D. Ramchurn},
 doi = {10.1371/journal.pone.0130154},
 journal = {Public Library of Science (PLOS ONE)},
 pages = {e0130154},
 title = {Multi-Agent Patrolling under Uncertainty and Threats},
 volume = {10(6)},
 year = {2015}