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Self-organizing networks (SONs) can help manage the severe interference in dense heterogeneous networks (HetNets). Given their need to automatically configure power and other settings, machine learning is a promising tool for data-driven decision making in SONs. In this paper, a HetNet is modeled as a dense two-tier network with conventional macrocells overlaid with denser small cells (e.g. femto or pico cells). First, a distributed framework based on multi-agent Markov decision process is proposed that models the power optimization problem in the network. Second, we present a systematic approach for designing a reward function based on the optimization problem. Third, we introduce Q-learning based distributed power allocation algorithm (Q-DPA) as a self-organizing mechanism that enables ongoing transmit power adaptation as new small cells are added to the network. Further, the sample complexity of the Q-DPA algorithm to achieve ϵ-optimality with high probability is provided. We demonstrate, at density of several thousands femtocells per km2, the required quality of service of a macrocell user can be maintained via the proper selection of independent or cooperative learning and appropriate Markov state models.

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© 2019 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works. doi: 10.1109/TWC.2019.2919611