Consensus Seeking Using Multi-Hop Relay Protocol

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Zhipu Jin, Richard M Murray
IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 2007 (submitted)

We consider the problem of average consensus seeking in networked multi-agent systems. Based on local information and a simple distributed algorithm, states of all agents automatically converge to the average value of the initial conditions, where the convergence speed is determined by the algebraic connectivity of the underlying communication network. In order to achieve an average consensus quickly, we propose a new type of consensus protocol, multi-hop relay protocol, in which each agent expands its knowledge by employing multi-hop communication links. We explicitly show that multi-hop relay protocol increases the convergence speed without physically changing the network topology. Moreover, accumulated delays along communication links are discussed. We show that, for multi-hop relay protocol, the faster the protocol converges, the more sensitive it is to the delay. This tradeoff is identified when we investigate the stable delay margin using frequency sweep method.