ECE Seminar Series

Joint Electrical and Computer Engineering Seminar and Computer Science Seminar

Title: Fundamental Limitations in Multiagent Coordination
Speaker: Jason Marden
Affiliation: University of Colorado Boulder
Day: Friday, February 20, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: LSC 376-78

Abstract: The goal in networked control of multiagent systems is to derive desirable collective behavior through the design of local control algorithms. The information available to the individual agents, either through sensing or communication, invariably defines the space of admissible control laws. Hence, informational restrictions impose constraints on achievable performance guarantees. The first part of this talk will provide one such constraint with regards to the efficiency of the resulting stable solutions for a class of networked resource allocation problems with submodular objective functions. When the agents have full information regarding the resources, the efficiency of the resulting stable solutions is guaranteed to be within 50% of optimal. However, when the agents have only localized information about the resources, which is a common feature of many well-studied control designs, the efficiency of the resulting stable solutions can be 1/n of optimal, where n is the number of agents. Consequently, such schemes in general cannot guarantee that systems comprised of n agents can perform better than a system comprised of just a single agent. The second part of this talk will focus on identifying how augmenting the information to the agents can impact achievable performance guarantees. While providing the agents with additional information can lead to control designs with improved efficiency guarantees, it turns out that such gains frequently come at the expense of the underlying convergence rates. Hence, there is an apparent tradeoff between short-term and long-term performance guarantees in multiagent systems and we will characterize this tradeoff in a simple distributed graph coloring problem. The last part of this talk will present some preliminary results on robust mechanisms for social coordination.

Bio: Jason Marden is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at the University of Colorado. Jason received a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2001 from UCLA, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2007, also from UCLA, under the supervision of Jeff S. Shamma, where he was awarded the Outstanding Graduating PhD Student in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating from UCLA, he served as a junior fellow in the Social and Information Sciences Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology until 2010 when he joined the University of Colorado. Jason is a recipient of the NSF Career Award (2014), the AFOSR Young Investigator Award (2012), and the American Automatic Control Council Donald P. Eckman Award (2012). Jason's research interests focus on game theoretic methods for the control of distributed multiagent systems.