Coen van Leeuwen from TNO is coming to talk about their research on a new algorithm for solving Distributed Constraint Optimization Problems (DCOPs), called CoCoA. These are problems where a set of distributed agents have to co-operate in order to reach a common goal. Examples of these are: selecting non-overlapping Wi-Fi channels in a neighborhood with many access points; organizing a sensor network in a hostile environment where batteries are a scarce resource; maximizing energy distribution in a wireless power transfer network without violating health norms; or co-ordination of a team of mobile search-and-rescue robots who are assigned the task of clearing an area.
Besides complete solvers that are guaranteed to find the optimal solution, there are incomplete solvers that use heuristic methods for this problem that balance solution cost with computational load and communication overhead. CoCoA is such an algorithm in which knowledge is distributed amongst neighboring agents, and assigns a value only once instead of using an iterative approach. Coen will demonstrate its performance compared to existing methods in generic abstract problems, as well as in realistic use cases.
After the talk, we will head to the Cover room to grab a few free beers with each other!