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Control and information architectures for formations

Formations of robots, underwater vehicles and autonomous airborne vehicles are progressively being deployed to tackle problems of surveillance, bush fire control, and the like. Much formation behaviour mimics the behaviour of formations of living organisms, such as birds and fish. A number of prototypical problems will be considered, starting with rendezvous and consensus. The presentation will consider the types of control, communications and sensing architecture that allow scalability for formations with many individual agents, and allow preservation of the formation shape, as well as merging, splitting, or closing ranks in the event of loss of one or more agents. The scalability requirement imposes a need for significant decentralization of information and control structures, and, just as in a formation of birds or fish, no one bird or fish can be expected to sense all other birds or fish and compute its own trajectory using even partial knowledge of the trajectories of all other individual birds or fish, so the amount of sensing, communication and control computation by any one agent has to be limited.

Type of Seminar:
Public Seminar
Prof. Brian D.O Anderson
ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, Australian National University , Canberra ACT 0200
Sep 17, 2007   17:15

ETH Zentrum, Gloriastr. 35, Building ETZ, Room E6
Contact Person:

Prof. M. Morari
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Biographical Sketch:
Brian Anderson took his undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering at Sydney University, and his doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He worked in industry in the United States and at Stanford University before serving as Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Newcastle, Australia from 1967 through 1981. At that time, he took up a post as Professor and Head of the Department of Systems Engineering at the Australian National University in Canberra, where he was Director of the Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering from 1994 to 2002. For approximately one year to May 2003, he was the inaugural CEO of the newly formed National ICT Australia, established by the Australian Government through the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and the Australian Research Council under the Information and Communication Technologies Centre of Excellence program. Professor Anderson has served as a member of a number of government bodies, including the Australian Science and Technology Council and the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council. He was a member of the Board of Cochlear Limited, the world's major supplier of cochlear implants from its listing until 2005. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia. In 1989, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, London, and in 2002 a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Engineering. He holds honorary doctorates of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne and New South Wales. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1993. He was President of the International Federation of Automatic Control for the triennium 1990 to 1993, and served as President of the Australian Academy of Science for four years from 1998 to 2002. Professor Anderson became the Chief Scientist of National ICT Australia in May 2003 and served in that role till September 2006. His current interests are in control of distributed systems and adaptive control.