Distributed Decision Making in Network Systems: Algorithms, Fundamental limits, and Applications

Tue, May 7, 2019, 4:30 pm
B205 Engineering Quadrangle
Professor Yuxin Chen

Abstract: Recent radical evolution in distributed sensing, computation, communication, and actuation has fostered the emergence of cyber-physical network systems. Examples cut across a broad spectrum of engineering and societal fields such as power grids, swarm robotics, air/ground transportation systems, green buildings, and other networks. Regardless of the specific application, one central goal is to shape the network collective behavior through the design of admissible local decision-making algorithms. This is nontrivial especially due to the challenges placed by the local connectivity, imperfect communication, time-varying uncertainty, and the complex intertwined physics and human interactions.  In this talk, I will present our recent progress in formally advancing the systematic design of distributed coordination in network systems. We investigate the fundamental performance limit placed by these various challenges, design fast, efficient, and scalable algorithms to achieve (or approximate) the performance limits, and test and implement the algorithms on real-world applications.


Bio: Na Li is a Thomas D. Cabot associate professor in Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University.  She received her Bachelor degree in Mathematics from Zhejiang University in 2007 and Ph.D. degree in Control and Dynamical systems from California Institute of Technology in 2013. She was a postdoctoral associate of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2013-2014. She has joined Harvard University since 2014. Her research lies in the control and optimization of networked systems, including theory development, algorithm design, and applications to cyber-physical societal systems. She is an associate editor for Systems and Control Letters and IEEE Control Systems Letters and has served on IEEE CSS Conference Editorial Board (CEB) and other program committees of several conferences and workshops. She received NSF career award (2016), AFSOR Young Investigator Award (2017), ONR Young Investigator Award,  Harvard Physical and Science Accelerator Award, 2011 CDC Best Student Paper Award finalist (as a student author) and 2018 CCTA best student paper award finalist (as an adviser).

This seminar is supported with funds from the Korhammer Lecture Series.