An Examination of Criticality-Sensitive Approaches to Coordination

Pedro Szekely, Rajiv T. Maheswaran, Robert Neches, Craig M. Rogers, Romeo Sanchez, Marcel Becker, Stephen Fitzpatrick, Gergely Gati, David Hanak, Gabor Karsai, Chris van Buskirk

In this work, we address the problem of coordinating the distributed execution of plans and schedules by multiple agents subject to a number of different execution uncertainties. The coordination of multi-agent teams in uncertain, dynamic domains is a challenging problem requiring the fusion of techniques from many disciplines. We describe an approach based on the dynamic and selective use of a family of different problem-solving strategies that combine stochastic state estimation with repair-based and heuristic-guided planning and scheduling techniques. This approach is implemented as a cognitive problem-solving architecture that combines (i) a deliberative scheduler, which performs partially-centralized solution repair, (ii) an opportunistic scheduler, which locally optimizes resource utilization for plan enhancement, and (iii) a downgrader, which proactively guides the execution into regions of higher likelihood of success. This paper characterizes the complexity of the problem through examples and experiments, and discusses the advantages and effectiveness of the implemented solution.

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