NEW! Contribute to the 'roundtable' discussion. See the program for details.

Tuesday, June 30th 2015, Afternoon Session, Chicago, IL USA


Interconnected systems have become the recent focus of intense investigation, particularly in the context of autonomous collaboration (such as in multi-robot or sensor systems), affording fundamental advantages in adaptability, scalability, and efficiency compared to classical single-agent solutions. As recent work has demonstrated, investigations are far-reaching across various disciplines, ranging from sampling, tracking, and coverage, mobility and topology control, to general agent agreement problems.

As a matter of fact, the study of interconnected systems is remarkably complex and highly susceptible to fragmentation especially due to the diversity of the research communities involved, ranging from computer science to automation. Both a high level view of the fundamental topics that drive interconnected systems, and a fine-grained understanding of each topic is required to truly make progress in the field, and to provide an accessible starting point to new research. An effective approach to attain such goals would be to construct a strict taxonomy of interconnected systems. To this end, we plan to organize a series of workshops, each addressing specific subareas at the forefront of interconnected system research. For each of these research topics, our goal is to identify those properties that underlie crucial, and yet common, aspects of theory and application. We believe that such a taxonomic approach may lead towards an understanding of the current open problems in each subarea, the relationships between subareas, ultimately yielding a roadmap for new researchers connecting theory and application.

This proposal represents a further step towards building such a taxonomy after the initial workshop held at IROS14 (, which focused on the implications of topology in robotics. In this workshop, we will focus on the complexities arising from directedness and asymmetry in pairwise agent-to-agent interactions. These properties, which have until very recently been neglected, represent an important area of focus for the control community, in order to capture a more realistic modeling of interconnected systems. Indeed, typical modes of communication, mobility, and sensing exhibit limitations which render the common undirectedness assumption often too restrictive, e.g., limited field of view of sensor elements or anisotropic radiation of antennas. Our goal is to develop a taxonomy of control design methodologies currently used in the context of asymmetric/directed interactions and identify the fundamental difficulties of this challenging setting.

As our long-term vision for the series is to truly connect workshop topics, we will incorporate notions of asymmetry in topological control methodologies, to relate to the previous IROS workshop. Finally, we aim to build the series across the control and robotics communities, hopefully establishing a bridge between novelties in multi-agent theory and the future requirements of multi-robot applications.

Intended Audience

The goal of this workshop is to gather researchers in the field of multi-agent systems, with particular interest in the implications of asymmetry on networked algorithms and behaviors, with expertise spanning network theory and control. We also hope to connect researchers in academia, government, and industry, with interest in beginning the journey towards methodically constructing a taxonomy of interconnected systems.


Andrea Gasparri

Dipartimento di Ingegneria
Università degli studi "Roma Tre"

Ryan K. Williams

Electrical Engineering
University of Southern California

Frank L. Lewis

UTA Research Institution
University of Texas Arlington