Bandwidth Limited Distributed Optimization with Applications to Networked Cyberphysical Systems

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: The emerging technology of Cyberphysical systems consists of networked computing, sensing, and actuator devices used to monitor, connect, and control physical phenomena. In order to economically and sustainably operate Cyberphysical systems, their devices need to cooperate over a communication network to solve optimization problems. For example, in smart power grids, smart meters cooperatively optimize the grid performance, and in wireless sensor networks a number of sensors cooperate to find optimal estimators of real-world parameters. A challenging aspect in the design of distributed solution algorithms to these optimization problems is that while the technology advances and the networks grow larger, the communication bandwidth available to coordinate the solution remains limited. Motivated by this challenge, this thesis investigates the convergence of distributed solution methods for resource allocation optimization problems, where gradient information is communicated at every iteration, using limited communication. This problem is approached from three different perspectives, each presented in a separate paper.  The investigation of the three papers demonstrate promises and limits of solving distributed resource allocation problems using limited communication bandwidth. Future work will consider how even more general problems can be solved using limited communication bandwidth and also study different communication constraints.