On the Centrality of Decentralization in Multi-robot Systems: Holy Grail or False Idol?

Sunday, 1 June, 2014
Hong Kong, China
Hosting conference: 
Antonio Franchi
Paolo Robuffo Giordano
From multi-robot decentralized theory to practice: after more than a decade of theoretical studies and advancements on decentralized estimation and control for multi-robot systems and distributed algorithms for networks of robotic agents, several real-world experiments have been carried out and the gap between theory and practice is becoming small. But is decentralization a real benefit for teams of multi-robots, or is it more a pure theoretical challenge? What of the various decentralized features have found a practical relevance? In robotics and distributed control, decentralization is typically achieved at the cost of local optimality and slow convergence rates, while Nature shows several examples of efficient and highly dynamic behaviors of large scale animal populations. Is this evident gap due to a methodological and insufficiency of our theoretical tools or to a technological lack, i.e., in terms of perceptual and actuation performances? This workshop will host some of the most renowned researchers in the multi-robot field and will let them both present their most recent results and thoroughly discuss the aforementioned questions and their fundamental implications in future multi-robot research.