Optimal Communication for Fast In-Network Coordination

The goal of this project is to develop a new framework where teams of mobile robots self-engineer the structure of their communication network in order to improve on the performance of distributed algorithms used for team coordination. The key idea that enables this work is the representation of the network structure in terms of metrics that depend on the full eigenvalue spectrum of the network's adjacency and Laplacian matrices, but can be approximated in a very efficient and decentralized way. These metrics can then be related to the performance of popular, distributed, coordination algorithms, such as consensus, gossiping, and viral information dissemination. This project closes the loop in the design of distributed coordination algorithms implemented on, generally mobile, networks by incorporating the network structure in the space of control variables that affect distributed coordination. The resulting hybrid network of mobile robots is controlled jointly in the space of network configurations and robot positions. (Contact: Zavlanos)