Title: Decision-making in Decentralized Systems
Abstract: Decentralized systems are ubiquitous in the modern world. Communication systems, sensor networks, power generation and transmission systems, supply chain networks, economic systems like markets and auctions are all examples of decentralized systems. Such systems are characterized by the presence of multiple decision-making agents with different information. In this talk, I focus on the problem of finding optimal decision-strategies for co-operative agents in a decentralized system. In particular, I consider a decentralized stochastic decision-making problem with multiple decision-makers that share information with each other with a fixed time delay. Such decision problems arise in queuing networks, wired communication networks, distributed control systems, surveillance systems etc. In spite of initial conjectures as early as 1971, finding the general structure of agents' optimal decision-strategies with delayed information sharing had remained an open problem for 40 years. My research provides a conceptual framework that not only identifies the structure of optimal decision strategies but also provides a sequential decomposition of the optimization problem. Moreover, the conceptual methodology developed here is shown to be applicable to a broader class of decentralized decision making problems as well.
Bio: Ashutosh Nayyar received the B. Tech. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India and M.S. and Ph.D in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher at Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois. His research interests include decentralized stochastic control, stochastic scheduling and resource allocation, controlled sensing in sensor networks, game theory and mechanism design.