Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Everything is the Same: Monotone Co-Design Problems

Andrea Censi, MIT
E-Quad, B205
Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 4:30pm

Abstract  I will present some recent work towards developing a "theory of co-design" that is rich enough to represent the trade-offs in the design of complex robotic systems, including the recursive constraints that involve energetics, propulsion, communication, computation, sensing, control, perception, and planning. I am developing a formalism in which "design problems" are the primitive objects, and multiple design problems can be composed to obtain "co-design"problems through operations analogous to series, parallel, and feedback composition. Certain monotonicity properties are preserved by these operations, from which it is possible to conclude existence and uniqueness of minimal feasible design trade-offs, as well as obtaining a systematic solution procedure (not quite scalable, yet...). The mathematical tools used are the *really elementary* parts of the theory of fixed points on partially ordered sets (Kleene, Tarski, etc), of which no previous knowledge is assumed.  We will conclude that: choosing the smallest battery for a drone, optimizing your controller to work over a network of limited bandwidth, and defining the semantics of your logic programs, are one and the same problem.
Bio:  Andrea Censi is a Research Scientist and Principal Investigator with the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees (summa cum laude) in control engineering and robotics from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, in 2005 and 2007, and a Ph.D. in Control & Dynamical Systems  from the California Institute of Technology in 2012.