Flocks: Self-Organizing Networked Systems

Reza Olfati-Saber

Thayer School, Dartmouth College


Complex networked systems are large-scale networks of interacting dynamical systems (or agents). Such networks are abundant in engineering, biological, and social systems. Some examples include wireless sensor networks; swarms, flocks, and schools in nature; collaborative multi-robot systems; and dynamic social networks. A fundamental question is how to design complex networked systems so that they collectively behave in a desired self-organizing manner. In this talk, we address this question analytically in the context of design of flocks of mobile agents that exhibit self-alignment, spatial self-organization, and the capability to self-assemble connected mobile networks in space. A deeper understanding of flocking behavior, not only provides a mobility-control model for mobile sensor networks, but it also sheds light on the migration mechanism of birds and other species in nature. During this talk, several examples will be presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed distributed algorithms for flocking.

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