Cooperative Multi-Agent systems and “Magical” Graphs


Professor John S. Baras

Institute for Systems Research and

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and

Fischell Department of Bioengineering

Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Scientific Computation Program

University of Maryland College Park


Friday,  March 9, 2012

3:30 – 4:30p.m

Rm. 1500 EECS

Abstract:  We describe a general model for cooperative multi-agent systems that involves several interacting dynamic multigraphs and identify three fundamental research challenges underlying these systems from a network science perspective. We show that the framework of constrained coalitional network games  captures in a fundamental way the basic tradeoff of benefits vs. cost of collaboration, in multi-agent systems, and demonstrate that it can explain network formation and the emergence or not of collaboration. We investigate the interrelationship between the collaboration and communication multigraphs in cooperative swarms and the role of the communication topology, among the collaborating agents, in improving the performance of distributed task execution. We show that Small World graphs emerge as a good tradeoff between performance and efficiency in consensus problems, where the latter serves as a prototypical multi-agent decision problem. We discuss extensions to expander graphs (“magical” graphs of Pinsker) and present several results on designing efficient communication topologies for collaborative control, some inspired from biology.


 John S. Baras, Lockheed Martin Chair in Systems Engineering B.S. in Electrical Eng. from the Nat. Techn. Univ. of Athens, Greece, 1970; M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Math. from Harvard Univ. 1971, 1973. Since 1973 with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and the Applied Mathematics Faculty, at the University of Maryland College Park. Since 2000 faculty member in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering. Founding Director of the Institute for Systems Research (ISR) from 1985 to 1991.  Since 1991, has been the Director of theMaryland Center for Hybrid Networks (HYNET). Fellow of the IEEE and a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. Received the 1980 George Axelby Prize from the IEEE Control Systems Society and the 2006 Leonard Abraham Prize from the IEEE Communications Society. Professor Baras' research interests include control, communication and computing systems.