Adaptive Load Balancing: A Study in Multi-Agent Learning

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Abstract

We study the process of multi-agent reinforcement learning in the context ofload balancing in a distributed system, without use of either centralcoordination or explicit communication. We first define a precise frameworkin which to study adaptive load balancing, important features of which are itsstochastic nature and the purely local information available to individualagents. Given this framework, we show illuminating results on the interplaybetween basic adaptive behavior parameters and their effect on systemefficiency. We then investigate the properties of adaptive load balancing inheterogeneous populations, and address the issue of exploration vs.exploitation in that context. Finally, we show that naive use ofcommunication may not improve, and might even harm system efficiency.

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