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Fall 2009 GRASP Seminar: Jonathan How, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Robust Distributed Task Planning for Networked Agents”

November 20, 2009 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Abstract: This talk discusses methodologies to perform robust
distributed task planning for a heterogeneous team of agents performing
cooperative missions such as coordinated search, acquisition, and track
missions. We present the consensus-based bundle algorithm (CBBA), which
is a decentralized cooperative iterative auction algorithm for
assigning tasks to agents. CBBA uses two phases to achieve a
conflict-free task assignment. The first phase consists of each agent
generating a single ordered bundle of tasks by greedily selecting
tasks. The second phase then resolves inconsistent or conflicting
assignments with the objective of improving the global reward through a
bidding process. A key feature of CBBA is that its consensus protocol
aims at agreement on the winning bids and corresponding winning agents
(i.e., consensus in the spaces of decision variables and objective
function). This enables CBBA to create conflict-free solutions that are
relatively robust to inconsistencies in the current situational
awareness. Recent research has extended CBBA to handle more realistic
multi-UAV operational complications such as logical couplings in
missions, heterogeneity of teams, uncertainty in a dynamic environment,
and obstacle regions in flight space. We also present experimental
results on the RAVEN flight test facility.


- Learn More

Dr. Jonathan P. How is a Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and
Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tenured in
2003, promoted to Full Professor in 2007). He received a B.A.Sc. from
the University of Toronto in 1987 and his S.M. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics
and Astronautics from MIT in 1990 and 1993, respectively. He then
studied for two years at MIT as a postdoctoral associate for the
Middeck Active Control Experiment (MACE) that flew on-board the Space
Shuttle Endeavour in March 1995. Prior to joining MIT in 2000, he was
an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and
Astronautics at Stanford University. He has graduated a total of 28
Ph.D. students while at MIT and Stanford University on topics related
to GPS navigation, multi-vehicle planning, and robust/hybrid control.
He has published more than 200 articles in technical proceedings, and
59 papers in technical journals. Professor How was the planning and
control lead for the MIT DARPA Urban Challenge team that placed fourth
in the recent race at Victorville, CA.


November 20, 2009
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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