- Published 2006 in Systems & Control Letters

We consider stationary consensus protocols for networks of dynamic agents with fixed topologies. At each time instant, each agent knows only its and its neighbors’ state, but must reach consensus on a group decision value that is function of all the agents’ initial state. We show that the agents can reach consensus if the value of such a function is time-invariant when computed over the agents’ state trajectories. We use this basic result to introduce a non-linear protocol design rule allowing consensus on a quite general set of values. Such a set includes, e.g., any generalized mean of order p of the agents’ initial states. As a second contribution we show that our protocol design is the solution of individual optimizations performed by the agents. This notion suggests a game theoretic interpretation of consensus problems as mechanism design problems. Under this perspective a supervisor entails the agents to reach a consensus by imposing individual objectives. We prove that such objectives can be chosen so that rational agents have a unique optimal protocol, and asymptotically reach consensus on a desired group decision value. We use a Lyapunov approach to prove that the asymptotical consensus can be reached when the communication links between nearby agents define a time-invariant undirected network. Finally we perform a simulation study concerning the vertical alignment maneuver of a team of unmanned air vehicles. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

@article{Bauso2006NonlinearPF,
title={Non-linear protocols for optimal distributed consensus in networks of dynamic agents},
author={Dario Bauso and Laura Giarr{\'e} and Raffaele Pesenti},
journal={Systems & Control Letters},
year={2006},
volume={55},
pages={918-928}
}