Distributed coordination of autonomous agents by communicating on a need-to-know basis
Author(s)Chen, Judy Y. (Judy Yann-Yun), 1980-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Brian C. Williams.
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Intelligent autonomous agents working cooperatively accomplish tasks more efficiently than single agents, as well as tasks that were infeasible for the single agent. For example, a single agent transporting a ton of blocks will need to take multiple trips, possibly even more trips than it can make, and will take longer than several agents transporting the blocks in parallel. Unexpected events can result in the need for agents to change their plans in order to adapt. During replanning, the expense of communication can hinder the amount of information passed. In this thesis, agents reduce the communication load while adapting to environmental events by examining what changes will be made to teammate plans and by passing information only on a need-to-know basis. More specifically, in this thesis, we describe a method whereby cooperating agents use identical planners and knowledge of the other agents' capabilities in order to pass information about the environmental conditions they observe that are necessary for their teammates to infer the correct actions to take. The agent must also pass conditions only to the teammates who are affected by the changes. Given that not all agents will have the same information about environmental conditions, the plans inferred by each agent may be different from their teammates. The Pertinent Information Planning (PIP) algorithm provided seeks to allow each agent to have an incorrect plan with respect to other agents but gives each agent a correct plan with respect to the actions that they perform. In order to determine the conditions that agents communicate, agents must repair their local plan and figure out which sets of actions have changed in the repaired plan. This thesis provides the(cont.) procedures for repairing the local plans and for determining the minimal set of information to be communicated between agents and the minimal set of agents who need to know this information. This thesis also explains how the agents who need to know update their local plans. Finally, the thesis presents the results of a computer simulation for three test cases of a pedagogical cooperative space exploration example.
Thesis (M. Eng.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2004.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 105-108).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.