Abstract: Recent radical evolution in distributed sensing, computation, communication, and actuation has fostered the emergence of cyber-physical network systems. Examples cut across a broad spectrum of engineering and societal fields such as power grids, swarm robotics, air/ground transportation systems, green buildings, and other societal networks. Regardless of the specific application, one central goal is to shape the network collective behavior through the design of admissible local decision-making algorithms. This is nontrivial especially due to the challenges placed by the local connectivity, imperfect communication, time-varying uncertainty, and the complex intertwined physics and human interactions. In this talk, I will present our recent progress in formally advancing the systematic design of distributed coordination in network systems. We investigate the fundamental performance limit placed by these various challenges, design fast, efficient, and scalable algorithms to achieve (or approximate) the performance limits, and test and implement the algorithms on real-world applications.
Na Li is the Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University.