2021 journal article

Model-Free Optimal Control of Linear Multiagent Systems via Decomposition and Hierarchical Approximation

*IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CONTROL OF NETWORK SYSTEMS*, *8*(3), 1069–1081.

author keywords: Decomposition; hierarchical control; large-scale networks; linear quadratic regulator (LQR); model-free reinforcement learning (RL)

TL;DR:
A hierarchical controller is proposed that adheres to a particular structure as specified by the inter-agent coupling in the objective function and by the decomposition strategy, and mathematical formulations are established to find a decomposition that minimizes required communication links or reduces the optimality gap.
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Source: Web Of Science

Added: October 4, 2021

Designing the optimal linear quadratic regulator (LQR) for a large-scale multiagent system is time consuming since it involves solving a large-size matrix Riccati equation. The situation is further exasperated when the design needs to be done in a model-free way using schemes such as reinforcement learning (RL). To reduce this computational complexity, we decompose the large-scale LQR design problem into multiple small-size LQR design problems. We consider the objective function to be specified over an undirected graph, and cast the decomposition as a graph clustering problem. The graph is decomposed into two parts, one consisting of independent clusters of connected components, and the other containing edges that connect different clusters. Accordingly, the resulting controller has a hierarchical structure, consisting of two components. The first component optimizes the performance of each independent cluster by solving the small-size LQR design problem in a model-free way using an RL algorithm. The second component accounts for the objective coupling different clusters, which is achieved by solving a least-squares problem in one shot. Although suboptimal, the hierarchical controller adheres to a particular structure as specified by interagent couplings in the objective function and by the decomposition strategy. Mathematical formulations are established to find a decomposition that minimizes the number of required communication links or reduces the optimality gap. Numerical simulations are provided to highlight the pros and cons of the proposed designs.