Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs


Domagoj Tolic

Publication Date



This dissertation investigates the role of intermittent information in estimation and control problems and applies the obtained results to multi-agent tasks in robotics. First, we develop a stochastic hybrid model of mobile networks able to capture a large variety of heterogeneous multi-agent problems and phenomena. This model is applied to a case study where a heterogeneous mobile sensor network cooperatively detects and tracks mobile targets based on intermittent observations. When these observations form a satisfactory target trajectory, a mobile sensor is switched to the pursuit mode and deployed to capture the target. The cost of operating the sensors is determined from the geometric properties of the network, environment and probability of target detection. The above case study is motivated by the Marco Polo game played by children in swimming pools. Second, we develop adaptive sampling of targets positions in order to minimize energy consumption, while satisfying performance guarantees such as increased probability of detection over time, and no-escape conditions. A parsimonious predictor-corrector tracking filter, that uses geometrical properties of targets' tracks to estimate their positions using imperfect and intermittent measurements, is presented. It is shown that this filter requires substantially less information and processing power than the Unscented Kalman Filter and Sampling Importance Resampling Particle Filter, while providing comparable estimation performance in the presence of intermittent information. Third, we investigate stability of nonlinear control systems under intermittent information. We replace the traditional periodic paradigm, where the up-to-date information is transmitted and control laws are executed in a periodic fashion, with the event-triggered paradigm. Building on the small gain theorem, we develop input-output triggered control algorithms yielding stable closed-loop systems. In other words, based on the currently available (but outdated) measurements of the outputs and external inputs of a plant, a mechanism triggering when to obtain new measurements and update the control inputs is provided. Depending on the noise environment, the developed algorithm yields stable, asymptotically stable, and Lp-stable (with bias) closed-loop systems. Control loops are modeled as interconnections of hybrid systems for which novel results on Lp-stability are presented. Prediction of a triggering event is achieved by employing Lp-gains over a finite horizon in the small gain theorem. By resorting to convex programming, a method to compute Lp-gains over a finite horizon is devised. Next, we investigate optimal intermittent feedback for nonlinear control systems. Using the currently available measurements from a plant, we develop a methodology that outputs when to update the control law with new measurements such that a given cost function is minimized. Our cost function captures trade-offs between the performance and energy consumption of the control system. The optimization problem is formulated as a Dynamic Programming problem, and Approximate Dynamic Programming is employed to solve it. Instead of advocating a particular approximation architecture for Approximate Dynamic Programming, we formulate properties that successful approximation architectures satisfy. In addition, we consider problems with partially observable states, and propose Particle Filtering to deal with partially observable states and intermittent feedback. Finally, we investigate a decentralized output synchronization problem of heterogeneous linear systems. We develop a self-triggered output broadcasting policy for the interconnected systems. Broadcasting time instants adapt to the current communication topology. For a fixed topology, our broadcasting policy yields global exponential output synchronization, and Lp-stable output synchronization in the presence of disturbances. Employing a converse Lyapunov theorem for impulsive systems, we provide an average dwell time condition that yields disturbance-to-state stable output synchronization in case of switching topology. Our approach is applicable to directed and unbalanced communication topologies.'


National Science Foundation

Document Type




Degree Name

Computer Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Fierro, Rafael

First Committee Member (Chair)

Oishi, Meeko

Second Committee Member

Sanfelice, Ricardo

Third Committee Member

Sorrentino, Francesco