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  1. 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. 
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  2. 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. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Intertemporal choices involve assessing options with different reward amounts available at different time delays. The similarity approach to intertemporal choice focuses on judging how similar amounts and delays are. Yet we do not fully understand the cognitive process of how these judgments are made. Here, we use machine-learning algorithms to predict similarity judgments to (1) investigate which algorithms best predict these judgments, (2) assess which predictors are most useful in predicting participants’ judgments, and (3) determine the minimum number of judgments required to accurately predict future judgments. We applied eight algorithms to similarity judgments for reward amount and time delay made by participants in two data sets. We found that neural network, random forest, and support vector machine algorithms generated the highest out-of-sample accuracy. Though neural networks and support vector machines offer little clarity in terms of a possible process for making similarity judgments, random forest algorithms generate decision trees that can mimic the cognitive computations of human judgment making. We also found that the numerical difference between amount values or delay values was the most important predictor of these judgments, replicating previous work. Finally, the best performing algorithms such as random forest can make highly accurate predictions of judgments with relatively small sample sizes (~ 15), which will help minimize the numbers of judgments required to extrapolate to new value pairs. In summary, machine-learning algorithms provide both theoretical improvements to our understanding of the cognitive computations involved in similarity judgments and intertemporal choices as well as practical improvements in designing better ways of collecting data. 
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  4. In open agent systems, the set of agents that are cooperating or competing 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. We consider the problem of planning in these contexts with the additional challenges that the agents are unable to communicate with each other and that there are many of them. 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 becomes computationally intractable with high numbers of agents. We present a novel, principled, and scalable method in this context that enables an agent to reason about others' presence in its shared environment and their actions. Our method extrapolates models of a few peers to the overall behavior of the many-agent system, and combines it with a generalization of Monte Carlo tree search to perform individual agent reasoning in many-agent open environments. Theoretical analyses establish the number of agents to model in order to achieve acceptable worst case bounds on extrapolation error, as well as regret bounds on the agent's utility from modeling only some neighbors. Simulations of multiagent wildfire suppression problems demonstrate our approach's efficacy compared with alternative baselines. 
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