Minimal Communication in a Distributed Discrete-Event Control System

Karen Rudie
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Queen's University

Distributed discrete-event systems, in which agents (or local sites) are required to communicate in order to perform some specified monitoring and control tasks, are considered. Each agent is modeled as a finite-state machine that must be able to distinguish between its states to perform some required task. To help it disambiguate states, an agent uses a combination of direct observation (obtained from sensor readings available to that agent) and communicated information (obtained from sensor readings available to another agent). Since communication may be costly, a strategy to minimize communication between sites is developed. The complexity of the solution reflects the interdependence of the agents' communication protocols. That is, the decision to communicate an event relies on which event sequences are indistinguishable to an agent, which, in turn, is a result of what has already been communicated to that agent.

This is joint work with Stephane Lafortune (University of Michigan) and Feng Lin (Wayne State University).