Abstract

Flocking or swarm behavior is a widely observed phenomenon in nature. Although the entities might have self-interested goals like evading predators or foraging, they group themselves together because a collaborative observation is superior to the observation of a single individual. In this paper, we evaluate the emergence of swarms in a foraging task using multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL). Every individual can move freely in a continuous space with the objective to follow a moving target object in a partially observable environment. The individuals are self-interested as there is no explicit incentive to collaborate with each other. However, our evaluation shows that these individuals learn to form swarms out of self-interest and learn to orient themselves to each other in order to find the target object even when it is out of sight for most individuals.

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