Ming Cao

Ming Cao
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Ming Cao

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Pub Categories

Mathematics - Optimization and Control (14)
Computer Science - Robotics (8)
Computer Science - Multiagent Systems (7)
Nonlinear Sciences - Adaptation and Self-Organizing Systems (3)
Mathematics - Dynamical Systems (2)
Statistics - Methodology (2)
Physics - Atomic Physics (1)
Physics - Biological Physics (1)
Computer Science - Computer Science and Game Theory (1)
Mathematics - Probability (1)
Quantum Physics (1)

Publications Authored By Ming Cao

Imitation is widely observed in populations of decision-making agents. Using our recent convergence results for asynchronous imitation dynamics on networks, we consider how such networks can be efficiently driven to a desired equilibrium state by offering payoff incentives for using a certain strategy, either uniformly or targeted to individuals. In particular, if for each available strategy, agents playing that strategy receive maximum payoff when their neighbors play that same strategy, we show that providing incentives to agents in a network that is at equilibrium will result in convergence to a unique new equilibrium. Read More

Social networks as a representation of relational data, often possess multiple types of dependency structures at the same time. There could be clustering (beyond homophily) at a macro level as well as transitivity (a friend's friend is more likely to be also a friend) at a micro level. Motivated by \cite{schweinberger2015local} which constructed a family of Exponential Random Graph Models (ERGM) with local dependence assumption, we argue that this kind of hierarchical models has potential to better fit real networks. Read More

In formation control, triangular formations consisting of three autonomous agents serve as a class of benchmarks that can be used to test and compare the performances of different controllers. We present an algorithm that combines the advantages of both position- and distance-based gradient descent control laws. For example, only two pairs of neighboring agents need to be controlled, agents can work in their own local frame of coordinates and the orientation of the formation with respect to a global frame of coordinates is not prescribed. Read More

As a representation of relational data over time series, longitudinal networks provide opportunities to study link formation processes. However, networks at scale often exhibits community structure (i.e. Read More

This paper presents a distributed algorithm for controlling the deployment of a team of mobile agents in formations whose shapes can be characterized by a broad class of polygons, including regular ones, where each agent occupies a corner of the polygon. The algorithm shares the appealing properties of the popular distance-based rigid formation control, but with the additional advantage of requiring the control of fewer pairs of neighboring agents. Furthermore, the scale of the polygon can be controlled by only one pair of neighboring agents. Read More

Recently the dynamics of signed networks, where the ties among the agents can be both positive (attractive) or negative (repulsive) have attracted substantial attention of the research community. Examples of such networks are models of opinion dynamics over signed graphs, recently introduced by Altafini (2012,2013) and extended to discrete-time case by Meng et al. (2014). Read More

This paper investigates the task assignment problem for multiple dispersed robots constrained by limited communication range. The robots are initially randomly distributed and need to visit several target locations while minimizing the total travel time. A centralized rendezvous-based algorithm is proposed, under which all the robots first move towards a rendezvous position until communication paths are established between every pair of robots either directly or through intermediate peers, and then one robot is chosen as the leader to make a centralized task assignment for the other robots. Read More

To understand the sophisticated control mechanisms of the human's endocrine system is a challenging task that is a crucial step towards precise medical treatment of many disfunctions and diseases. Although mathematical models describing the endocrine system as a whole are still elusive, recently some substantial progress has been made in analyzing theoretically its subsystems (or \emph{axes}) that regulate production of specific hormones. Many of the relevant mathematical models are similar in structure to (or squarely based on) the celebrated \emph{Goodwin's oscillator}. Read More

In this paper we propose an algorithm for path following control of the nonholonomic mobile robot based on the idea of the guiding vector field (GVF). The desired path may be an arbitrary smooth curve in its implicit form, that is, a level set of a predefined smooth function. Using this function and the robot's kinematic model, we design a GVF, whose integral curves converge to the trajectory. Read More

Distributed algorithms of multi-agent coordination have attracted substantial attention from the research community; the simplest and most thoroughly studied of them are consensus protocols in the form of differential or difference equations over general time-varying weighted graphs. These graphs are usually characterized algebraically by their associated Laplacian matrices. Network algorithms with similar algebraic graph theoretic structures, called being of Laplacian-type in this paper, also arise in other related multi-agent control problems, such as aggregation and containment control, target surrounding, distributed optimization and modeling of opinion evolution in social groups. Read More

This paper presents an algorithm for solving the problem of tracking smooth curves by a fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicle travelling with a constant airspeed and under a constant wind disturbance. The algorithm is based on the idea of following a guiding vector field which is constructed from the implicit function that describes the desired (possibly time-varying) trajectory. The output of the algorithm can be directly expressed in terms of the bank angle of the UAV in order to achieve coordinated turns. Read More

Recently it has been reported that biased range-measurements among neighboring agents in the gradient distance-based formation control can lead to predictable collective motion. In this paper we take advantage of this effect and by introducing distributed parameters to the prescribed inter-distances we are able to manipulate the steady-state motion of the formation. This manipulation is in the form of inducing simultaneously the combination of constant translational and angular velocities and a controlled scaling of the rigid formation. Read More

Despite the great success of using gradient-based controllers to stabilize rigid formations of autonomous agents in the past years, surprising yet intriguing undesirable collective motions have been reported recently when inconsistent measurements are used in the agents' local controllers. To make the existing gradient control robust against such measurement inconsistency, we exploit local estimators following the well known internal model principle for robust output regulation control. The new estimator-based gradient control is still distributed in nature and can be constructed systematically even when the number of agents in a rigid formation grows. Read More

Structural balance theory has been developed in sociology and psychology to explain how interacting agents, e.g., countries, political parties, opinionated individuals, with mixed trust and mistrust relationships evolve into polarized camps. Read More

Recently it has been reported that range-measurement inconsistency, or equivalently mismatches in prescribed inter-agent distances, may prevent the popular gradient controllers from guiding rigid formations of mobile agents to converge to their desired shape, and even worse from standing still at any location. In this paper, instead of treating mismatches as the source of ill performance, we take them as design parameters and show that by introducing such a pair of parameters per distance constraint, distributed controller achieving simultaneously both formation and motion control can be designed that not only encompasses the popular gradient control, but more importantly allows us to achieve constant collective translation, rotation or their combination while guaranteeing asymptotically no distortion in the formation shape occurs. Such motion control results are then applied to (a) the alignment of formations orientations and (b) enclosing and tracking a moving target. Read More

This paper presents the analysis on the influence of distance mismatches on the standard gradient-based rigid formation control for second-order agents. It is shown that, similar to the first-order case as recently discussed in the literature, these mismatches introduce two undesired group behaviors: a distorted final shape and a steady-state motion of the group formation. We show that such undesired behaviors can be eliminated by combining the standard formation control law with distributed estimators. Read More

We introduce a scheme for the parallel storage of frequency separated signals in an optical memory and demonstrate that this dual-rail storage is a suitable memory for high fidelity frequency qubits. The two signals are stored simultaneously in the Zeeman-split Raman absorption lines of a cold atom ensemble using gradient echo memory techniques. Analysis of the split-Zeeman storage shows that the memory can be configured to preserve the relative amplitude and phase of the frequency separated signals. Read More

Populations of flashing fireflies, claps of applauding audience, cells of cardiac and circadian pacemakers reach synchrony via event-triggered interactions, referred to as pulse couplings. Synchronization via pulse coupling is widely used in wireless sensor networks, providing clock synchronization with parsimonious packet exchanges. In spite of serious attention paid to networks of pulse coupled oscillators, there is a lack of mathematical results, addressing networks with general communication topologies and general phase-response curves of the oscillators. Read More

In the set of stochastic, indecomposable, aperiodic (SIA) matrices, the class of stochastic Sarymsakov matrices is the largest known subset (i) that is closed under matrix multiplication and (ii) the infinitely long left-product of the elements from a compact subset converges to a rank-one matrix. In this paper, we show that a larger subset with these two properties can be derived by generalizing the standard definition for Sarymsakov matrices. The generalization is achieved either by introducing an "SIA index", whose value is one for Sarymsakov matrices, and then looking at those stochastic matrices with larger SIA indices, or by considering matrices that are not even SIA. Read More

Most of the distributed protocols for multi-agent consensus assume that the agents are mutually cooperative and "trustful," and so the couplings among the agents bring the values of their states closer. Opinion dynamics in social groups, however, require beyond these conventional models due to ubiquitous competition and distrust between some pairs of agents, which are usually characterized by repulsive couplings and may lead to clustering of the opinions. A simple yet insightful model of opinion dynamics with both attractive and repulsive couplings was proposed recently by C. Read More

In the recent paper by Hamadeh et al. (2012) an elegant analytic criterion for incremental output feedback passivity (iOFP) of cyclic feedback systems (CFS) has been reported, assuming that the constituent subsystems are incrementally output strictly passive (iOSP). This criterion was used to prove that a network of identical CFS can be synchronized under sufficiently strong linear diffusive coupling. Read More

This paper studies synchronization of dynamical networks with event-based communication. Firstly, two estimators are introduced into each node, one to estimate its own state, and the other to estimate the average state of its neighbours. Then, with these two estimators, a distributed event-triggering rule (ETR) with a dwell-time is designed such that the network achieves synchronization asymptotically with no Zeno behaviours. Read More

In this paper, we study the discrete-time consensus problem over networks with antagonistic and cooperative interactions. Following the work by Altafini [IEEE Trans. Automatic Control, 58 (2013), pp. Read More

In this paper we propose an approach to the implementation of controllers with decentralized strategies triggering controller updates. We consider set-ups with a central node in charge of the computation of the control commands, and a set of not co-located sensors providing measurements to the controller node. The solution we propose does not require measurements from the sensors to be synchronized in time. Read More

Motivated by applications in intelligent highway systems, the paper studies the problem of guiding mobile agents in a one-dimensional formation to their desired relative positions. Only coarse information is used which is communicated from a guidance system that monitors in real time the agents' motions. The desired relative positions are defined by the given distance constraints between the agents under which the overall formation is rigid in shape and thus admits locally a unique realization. Read More