Lower Bounds for Dynamic Distributed Task Allocation

Friday, May 10, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Nicole Wein

Abstract: I will talk about problem of distributed task allocation in multi-agent systems. Suppose there is a collection of agents, a collection of tasks, and a demand vector, which specifies the number of agents required to perform each task. The goal of the agents is to cooperatively allocate themselves to the tasks to satisfy the demand vector. We study the dynamic version of the problem where the demand vector changes over time. Here, the goal is to minimize the switching cost, which is the number of agents that changetasks in response to a change in the demand vector. 

I will focus on a mathematical formalization of this problem introduced by Su, Su, Dornhaus, and Lynch. The problem is very combinatorial in nature so could be of interest to anyone who likes combinatorial algorithms; it is also completely self-contained and doesn't require background in any specific field. I will talk about the first non-trivial lower bounds for the switching cost.
Joint work with Hsin-Hao Su.