Differential Inequalities in Multi-Agent Coordination and Opinion Dynamics Modeling

Anton Proskurnikov, Ming Cao

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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Distributed algorithms of multi-agent coordination have attracted substantial attention from the research community; the simplest and most thoroughly studied of them are consensus protocols in the form of differential or difference equations over general time-varying weighted graphs. These graphs are usually characterized algebraically by their associated Laplacian matrices. Network algorithms with similar algebraic graph theoretic structures, called being of Laplacian-type in this paper, also arise in other related multi-agent control problems, such as aggregation and containment control, target surrounding, distributed optimization and modeling of opinion evolution in social groups. In spite of their similarities, each of such algorithms has often been studied using separate mathematical techniques. In this paper, a novel approach is offered, allowing a unied and elegant way to examine many Laplacian-type algorithms for multi-agent coordination. This approach is based on the analysis of some differential or difference inequalities that have to be satisfied by the some outputs" of the agents (e.g. the distances to the desired set in aggregation problems). Although such inequalities may have many unbounded solutions, under natural graphic connectivity conditions all their bounded solutions converge (and even reach consensus), entailing the convergence of the corresponding distributed algorithms. In the theory of differential equations the absence of bounded non-convergent solutions is referred to as the equation's dichotomy. In this paper, we establish the dichotomy criteria of Laplacian-type
dierential and dierence inequalities and show that these criteria enable one to extend a number of recent results, concerned with Laplacian-type algorithms for multi-agent coordination and modeling opinion formation in social groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-210
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1-Nov-2017

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