Consensus Protocols for Networks of Dynamic Agents

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Reza Olfati-Saber and Richard M. Murray
2003 American Control Conference

In this paper, we introduce a consensus protocol for a network of dynamic agents that allows the agents to reach a decision in a distributed and cooperative fashion. We consider both linear and nonlinear protocols as well as the characteristic function of the communication links in the network. This includes links with delay and (possible) distortion/filtering effects. It turns out that for a number of protocols, the convergence properties and the decision-value obtained via this protocol is strongly related to connectivity and algebraic graph theoretic properties of the information flow in the network of decision-making agents. Standard tools from multivariable control and linear control theory such as Nyquist plots appear naturally for convergence analysis of the obtained linear protocols. For the analysis of the nonlinear protocols, certain disagreement costs are constructed that are minimized by the consensus protocols in a distributed way. Simulation results are provided for attitude alignment of a group of 20 dynamic agents.

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