16374-Cooperative Multirobot Systems

Cooperative multirobot systems have become an active research area in the recent years. These research activities are looking for having a multiple robots involved in one system and cooperating in order to achieve the desired task(s). By this cooperation, some goals that were impossible for a single robot to achieve will become feasible and attainable. Also, it will help in increasing the overall system's reliability. Effective and robust cooperation among the robots can also synergistically improve the performance of the system and can endow it with higher-level faculties, such as distributed search, dynamic task allocation, communication relaying, cooperative target detection and tracking and shared situation awareness. To achieve this effective cooperation, the robots must have know-how capability for solving simple problems in an autonomous way and a know-how-to-cooperate by which agents can share common interests and interact with each other to solve complex problems cooperatively.

This seminar provides well-grounded and informative answers to questions like what is meant by cooperation, why cooperation is important, why it is difficult to achieve robust and effective cooperation in multirobot systems and how to achieve cooperative behaviors in these systems. The seminar will start by introducing multirobot systems highlighting their applications, benchmark problems, organizational paradigms and challenging aspects. The concepts of cooperation will be explained starting by highlighting the cooperative behaviors between living things in order to understand and learn how to imitate these behaviors in artificial systems. Lessons learned from study of cooperative behaviors of living things can be helpful to understand many aspects of cooperation such as the highly centralized control, the hierarchical control, the decentralized nature of the coordination between the living entities, their self-organization and the collective intelligence behaviors, which help these entities in achieving their task successfully. The concepts of agent as a cooperative entity will be discussed highlighting the key features of cooperative agents and cooperation in multiagent systems.

The seminar also provides a comprehensive study of different concepts related to cooperation from socio-cognitive perspectives such as social interactions, reciprocal cooperation, individualism and collectivism and personal orientation. Understanding these concepts has been source of inspiration of many theories of cooperation between artificial agents. Different theories of cooperation reported in the philosophical and scientific literature will be summarized. The seminar will discuss different models of cooperation that have been proposed based on these theories. Modeling and simulation tools for cooperative systems will be surveyed.

Course Objectives:
  • To introduce fundamental aspects of multirobot systems, their architectures, their challenging aspects and their applications.
  • To understand the cooperative behaviors between living things in order to understand learn how to imitate these behaviors in artificial systems.
  • To provide fundamentals for cooperative systems reviewing cooperation in Multirobot Systems, generic Typology of Cooperation and agents as cooperative Entities.
  • To review different implementation, testing, analysis and modeling tools available for cooperative systems.
Course Outline:

  • Introduction to Multirobot Systems.
  • Benchmark Problems of Multirobot Systems.
  • Organizational paradigms of Multirobot Systems.
  • Challenging Problems of Multirobot Systems.
  • What is Cooperation?
  • Cooperation in Multirobot Systems
  • Generic Typology of Cooperation
  • Agent as Cooperative Entity
  • Technology Enablers.

Course Instructor: Dr. Alaa Khamis
Email: a[dot]khamis[at]pami[dot]uwaterloo[dot]ca
Office hours: TBD

- E. Bonabeau, M. Dorigo, and G. Theraulaz. Swarm Intelligence: From Natural to Artificial Systems. Sante Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, 1999.
- J. Kennedy and R. Eberhart. Swarm Intelligence. Morgan Kaufman Publishers, 2000. - R. Tuomela. Cooperation: A Philosophical Study. Philosophical Studies Series, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000.
- L. Parker, "Multiple Mobile Robot Systems," Ch. 40 in Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2008.
- F. Dressler. Self-Organization in Sensor and Actor Networks. Wiley, 2007.
- Alaa Khamis. Conceptual Foundations of Cooperation in Distributed Surveillance. Technical Reports, Thales Canada, Naval Division, 2010.