Jorge Cortés


Nonsmooth coordination and geometric optimization via distributed dynamical systems
J. CortÚs, F. Bullo
SIAM Review 51 (1) (2009), 163-189


Emerging applications for networked and cooperative robots motivate the study of motion coordination for groups of agents. For example, it is envisioned that groups of agents will perform a variety of useful tasks including surveillance, exploration, and environmental monitoring. This paper deals with basic interactions among mobile agents such as ``move away from the closest other agent'' or ``move toward the furthest vertex of your own Voronoi polygon.'' These simple interactions amount to distributed dynamical systems because their implementation requires only minimal information about neighboring agents. We characterize the close relationship between these distributed dynamical systems and the disk-covering and sphere-packing cost functions from geometric optimization. Our main results are: (i) we characterize the smoothness properties of these geometric cost functions, (ii) we show that the interaction laws are variations of the nonsmooth gradient of the cost functions, and (iii) we establish various asymptotic convergence properties of the laws. The technical approach relies on concepts from computational geometry, nonsmooth analysis, and nonsmooth stability theory.

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