407 research outputs found

    Efficient, Superstabilizing Decentralised Optimisation for Dynamic Task Allocation Environments

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    Decentralised optimisation is a key issue for multi-agent systems, and while many solution techniques have been developed, few provide support for dynamic environments, which change over time, such as disaster management. Given this, in this paper, we present Bounded Fast Max Sum (BFMS): a novel, dynamic, superstabilizing algorithm which provides a bounded approximate solution to certain classes of distributed constraint optimisation problems. We achieve this by eliminating dependencies in the constraint functions, according to how much impact they have on the overall solution value. In more detail, we propose iGHS, which computes a maximum spanning tree on subsections of the constraint graph, in order to reduce communication and computation overheads. Given this, we empirically evaluate BFMS, which shows that BFMS reduces communication and computation done by Bounded Max Sum by up to 99%, while obtaining 60-88% of the optimal utility

    Sharing rides with friends: a coalition formation algorithm for ridesharing

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    We consider the Social Ridesharing (SR) problem, where a set of commuters, connected through a social network, arrange one-time rides at short notice. In particular, we focus on the associated optimisation problem of forming cars to minimise the travel cost of the overall system modelling such problem as a graph constrained coalition formation (GCCF) problem, where the set of feasible coalitions is restricted by a graph (i.e., the social network). Moreover, we significantly extend the state of the art algorithm for GCCF, i.e., the CFSS algorithm, to solve our GCCF model of the SR problem. Our empirical evaluation uses a real dataset for both spatial (GeoLife) and social data (Twitter), to validate the applicability of our approach in a realistic application scenario. Empirical results show that our approach computes optimal solutions for systems of medium scale (up to 100 agents) providing significant cost reductions (up to -36.22%). Moreover, we can provide approximate solutions for very large systems (i.e., up to 2000 agents) and good quality guarantees (i.e., with an approximation ratio of 1.41 in the worst case) within minutes (i.e., 100 seconds

    Decentralised Coordination of Low-Power Embedded Devices Using the Max-Sum Algorithm

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    This paper considers the problem of performing decentralised coordination of low-power embedded devices (as is required within many environmental sensing and surveillance applications). Specifically, we address the generic problem of maximising social welfare within a group of interacting agents. We propose a novel representation of the problem, as a cyclic bipartite factor graph, composed of variable and function nodes (representing the agents’ states and utilities respectively). We show that such representation allows us to use an extension of the max-sum algorithm to generate approximate solutions to this global optimisation problem through local decentralised message passing. We empirically evaluate this approach on a canonical coordination problem (graph colouring), and benchmark it against state of the art approximate and complete algorithms (DSA and DPOP). We show that our approach is robust to lossy communication, that it generates solutions closer to those of DPOP than DSA is able to, and that it does so with a communication cost (in terms of total messages size) that scales very well with the number of agents in the system (compared to the exponential increase of DPOP). Finally, we describe a hardware implementation of our algorithm operating on low-power Chipcon CC2431 System-on-Chip sensor nodes

    Resource-Aware Junction Trees for Efficient Multi-Agent Coordination

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    In this paper we address efficient decentralised coordination of cooperative multi-agent systems by taking into account the actual computation and communication capabilities of the agents. We consider coordination problems that can be framed as Distributed Constraint Optimisation Problems, and as such, are suitable to be deployed on large scale multi-agent systems such as sensor networks or multiple unmanned aerial vehicles. Specifically, we focus on techniques that exploit structural independence among agents’ actions to provide optimal solutions to the coordination problem, and, in particular, we use the Generalized Distributive Law (GDL) algorithm. In this settings, we propose a novel resource aware heuristic to build junction trees and to schedule GDL computations across the agents. Our goal is to minimise the total running time of the coordination process, rather than the theoretical complexity of the computation, by explicitly considering the computation and communication capabilities of agents. We evaluate our proposed approach against DPOP, RDPI and a centralized solver on a number of benchmark coordination problems, and show that our approach is able to provide optimal solutions for DCOPs faster than previous approaches. Specifically, in the settings considered, when resources are scarce our approach is up to three times faster than DPOP (which proved to be the best among the competitors in our settings)

    Normalizing flows as approximations of optimal transport maps via linear-control neural ODEs

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    The term "Normalizing Flows" is related to the task of constructing invertible transport maps between probability measures by means of deep neural networks. In this paper, we consider the problem of recovering the W2W_2-optimal transport map TT between absolutely continuous measures μ,νP(Rn)\mu,\nu\in\mathcal{P}(\mathbb{R}^n) as the flow of a linear-control neural ODE. We first show that, under suitable assumptions on μ,ν\mu,\nu and on the controlled vector fields, the optimal transport map is contained in the Cc0C^0_c-closure of the flows generated by the system. Assuming that discrete approximations μN,νN\mu_N,\nu_N of the original measures μ,ν\mu,\nu are available, we use a discrete optimal coupling γN\gamma_N to define an optimal control problem. With a Γ\Gamma-convergence argument, we prove that its solutions correspond to flows that approximate the optimal transport map TT. Finally, taking advantage of the Pontryagin Maximum Principle, we propose an iterative numerical scheme for the resolution of the optimal control problem, resulting in an algorithm for the practical computation of the approximated optimal transport map.Comment: Correction of typos and new bibliographical references. 32 pages, 1 figur

    Decentralised Coordination in RoboCup Rescue

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    Emergency responders are faced with a number of significant challenges when managing major disasters. First, the number of rescue tasks posed is usually larger than the number of responders (or agents) and the resources available to them. Second, each task is likely to require a different level of effort in order to be completed by its deadline. Third, new tasks may continually appear or disappear from the environment, thus requiring the responders to quickly recompute their allocation of resources. Fourth, forming teams or coalitions of multiple agents from different agencies is vital since no single agency will have all the resources needed to save victims, unblock roads, and extinguish the ?res which might erupt in the disaster space. Given this, coalitions have to be efficiently selected and scheduled to work across the disaster space so as to maximise the number of lives and the portion of the infrastructure saved. In particular, it is important that the selection of such coalitions should be performed in a decentralised fashion in order to avoid a single point of failure in the system. Moreover, it is critical that responders communicate only locally given they are likely to have limited battery power or minimal access to long range communication devices. Against this background, we provide a novel decentralised solution to the coalition formation process that pervades disaster management. More specifically, we model the emergency management scenario defined in the RoboCup Rescue disaster simulation platform as a Coalition Formation with Spatial and Temporal constraints (CFST) problem where agents form coalitions in order to complete tasks, each with different demands. In order to design a decentralised algorithm for CFST we formulate it as a Distributed Constraint Optimisation problem and show how to solve it using the state-of-the-art Max-Sum algorithm that provides a completely decentralised message-passing solution. We then provide a novel algorithm (F-Max-Sum) that avoids sending redundant messages and efficiently adapts to changes in the environment. In empirical evaluations, our algorithm is shown to generate better solutions than other decentralised algorithms used for this problem

    Coalition Formation with Spatial and Temporal Constraints

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    The coordination of emergency responders and robots to undertake a number of tasks in disaster scenarios is a grand challenge for multi-agent systems. Central to this endeavour is the problem of forming the best teams (coalitions) of responders to perform the various tasks in the area where the disaster has struck. Moreover, these teams may have to form, disband, and reform in different areas of the disaster region. This is because in most cases there will be more tasks than agents. Hence, agents need to schedule themselves to attempt each task in turn. Second, the tasks themselves can be very complex: requiring the agents to work on them for different lengths of time and having deadlines by when they need to be completed. The problem is complicated still further when different coalitions perform tasks with different levels of efficiency. Given all these facets, we define this as The Coalition Formation with Spatial and Temporal constraints problem (CFSTP).We show that this problem is NP-hard—in particular, it contains the wellknown complex combinatorial problem of Team Orienteering as a special case. Based on this, we design a Mixed Integer Program to optimally solve small-scale instances of the CFSTP and develop new anytime heuristics that can, on average, complete 97% of the tasks for large problems (20 agents and 300 tasks). In so doing, our solutions represent the first results for CFSTP


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    Abstract. We present and explore the agent programming language TEAMGOLOG, which is a novel approach to programming a team of cooperative agents under partial observability. Every agent is associated with a partial control program in Golog, which is completed by the TEAMGOLOG interpreter in an optimal way by assuming a decision-theoretic semantics. The approach is based on the key concepts of a synchronization state and a communication state, which allow the agents to passively resp. actively coordinate their behavior, while keeping their belief states, observations, and activities invisible to the other agents. We show the practical usefulness of the TEAMGOLOG approach in a rescue simulated domain. We describe the algorithms behind the TEAMGOLOG interpreter and provide a prototype implementation. We also show through experimental results that the TEAMGOLOG approach outperforms a standard greedy one in the rescue simulated domain