Dimensions of cooperative control
Jeff S. Shamma and Gurdal Arslan
1.1 WHY COOPERATIVE CONTROL?
Cooperative control is concerned with engineered systems that can be characterized as
a collection of decision-making components with limited processing capabilities, locally
sensed information, and limited inter-component communications, all seeking to achieve
a collective objective. Examples include mobile sensor networks, network congestion
control and routing, transportation systems, autonomous vehicle systems, distributed com-
putation, and power systems. Areas of research that are related to cooperative control
include `multi-agent control', `distributed systems', `networked control', as well as `team
theory' or `swarming'. Regardless of the nomenclature, the central challenge remains the
same. That is, to derive desirable collective behaviors through the design of individual
agent control algorithms.
The primary distinguishing feature of a cooperative control system is distribution of
information. As opposed to `centralized' solutions, no one decision-maker has access to
the information gathered by all agents. Furthermore, there is typically a communication
cost in distributing locally gathered information.
A secondary distinguishing feature is complexity. Even if information were centrally