Constrained Coalitional Games and Networks of Autonomous Agents
Date: March 12 - March 14, 2008
We develop a unifying analytical and optimization based framework for the design, operation and performance evaluation of networks of dynamic autonomous agents. The fundamental view is that agents in such a network are dynamic entities that collaborate because via collaboration they can accomplish objectives and goals much better than working alone, or even accomplish objectives that they cannot achieve alone at all. Yet the benefits derived from such collaboration require some costs (e.g. communications), or equivalently, the collaboration is subject to constraints. Understanding and quantifying this tradeoff between the benefits vs the costs of collaboration, leads to new methods that can be used to analyze, design and control/operate networks of agents. Although the inspiration for the framework comes from social and economic networks, the fundamental ideas and in particular the methodology of dynamic constrained coalitional games (DCCG) can unify many concepts and algorithms for networks in various areas: social networks, communication networks, sensor networks, economic networks, biological networks, physics networks. We then analyze a specific instance of such tradeoffs arising in the design of security-aware network protocols. We extend network utility maximization (NUM) so as to encompass security metrics such as “trust”. The trust values assigned to nodes are based on interaction history and community-based monitoring. The effect of these trust values on the resulting protocols is that in routing and media access scheduling node trustworthiness is automatically considered and used. We develop a distributed algorithm for the joint physical-MAC-routing protocol design. Our extension to NUM with security concerns leads to resilient networks.