James McLurkin

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Programmability is an increasingly important barrier to the deployment of multi-robot systems, as no prior approach allows routine composition and reuse of general aggregate behaviors. The Proto spatial computing language, however, already provides this sort of aggregate behavior programming for non-mobile systems using an abstraction of the network as a(More)
A large group of robots will often be partitioned into subgroups, each subgroup performing a different task. This paper presents four distributed algorithms for assigning swarms of homogenous robots to subgroups to meet a specified global task distribution. Algorithm Random-Choice selects tasks randomly, but runs in constant time. Algorithm Extreme-Comm(More)
Ants show an incredible ability to collectively transport complex irregular-shaped objects with seemingly simple coordination. Achieving similarly effective collective transport with robots has potential applications in many settings, from agriculture to construction to disaster relief. In this paper we investigate a simple decentralized strategy for(More)
We describe a distributed boundary detection algorithm suitable for use on multi-robot systems with dynamic network topologies. We assume that each robot has access to its local network geometry, which is the combination of a robot's network connectivity and the positions of its neighbors measured relative to itself. Our algorithm uses this information to(More)
This paper derives both open-loop and closed-loop control policies that steer a finite set of differential-drive robots to desired positions in a two-dimensional workspace, when all robots receive the same control inputs but each robot turns at a slightly different rate. In the absence of perturbation, the open-loop policy achieves zero error in finite(More)
In this paper, we present flocking with cohesive configuration control - motion controllers that allow multiple robots to move through the environment as a coherent group while maintaining connectivity and density invariants. We start with a flocking controller from the literature. First, we produce a boundary force on robots that are on the internal and(More)
Human-robot interfaces for interacting with hundreds of autonomous robots must be very different from single-robot interfaces. The central design challenge is developing techniques to maintain, program, and interact with the robots without having to handle them individually. This requires robots that can support hands-free operation, which drives many other(More)
This paper presents a control strategy that allows a group of mobile robots to position themselves to optimize the measurement of sensory information in the environment. The robots use sensed information to estimate a function indicating the relative importance of different areas in the environment. Their estimate is then used to drive the network to a(More)
A distributed algorithm is presented that causes a network of robots to spread out over an environment, while aggregating in areas of high sensory interest. The algorithm is a discrete-time interpretation of a controller previously introduced by the authors. The algorithmic implications of implementing this controller on a physical platform are discussed,(More)