We are proud to announce that Dr Qi Zhang has been awarded an NSF CAREER Award for his project titled "Identifying and Exploiting Multi-Agent Symmetries". The project's abstract:
It is widely believed by scientists that our universe follows certain symmetry patterns and principles, which lead to profound implications such as conservation laws. Artificial intelligence (AI) can and has already benefited tremendously from exploiting these symmetries. This project seeks to identify and exploit symmetries that are prevalent in cooperative AI tasks, where a group of multiple autonomous sequential decision makers, or agents, plan and learn to maximize their combined benefit. As an example, consider the application of adaptive traffic signal control, where each intersection can be modeled as an agent controlling its traffic signal in a way that adapts to real-time traffic conditions to reduce congestion. There exist certain symmetries when the topology of the road network is regular, e.g., as a 4-connected grid, and the road condition is uniform. When done properly, such multi-agent symmetries can be identified and exploited to greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the current solutions to cooperative AI. This project also integrates the proposed research into an array of education initiatives, playing key roles in the curriculum development and undergraduate research experiences at the PI's university, as well as outreach activities that bridge academia with industry practitioners and community stakeholders.