February 3, 2012, John Enright, Kiva Systems

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 3:00 PM
8 St. Mary’s Street, Room 203

Refreshments served at 2:45.

EnrightJohn Enright
Kiva Systems

Optimal Foraging of Renewable Resources

Consider a team of agents in the plane searching for and visiting target points that appear in a bounded environment according to a stochastic renewal process with a known absolutely continuous spatial distribution. Agents must detect targets with limited-range onboard sensors. It is desired to minimize the expected waiting time between the appearance of a target point, and the instant it is visited. When the sensing radius is small, the system time is dominated by time spent searching, and it is shown that the optimal policy requires the agents to search a region at a relative frequency proportional to the square root of its renewal rate.

In addition to this academic work, we will conclude with some movies of hundreds of coordinated robots in one of Kiva System’s warehouses and discussion of some challenging multi-agent resource allocation problems we face. In particular, the global optimization problem can be broken down into more manageable sub-problems, some of which map to (hard) versions of well studied algorithmic problems, but with a dynamic, temporal twist.

John Enright is a research scientist at Kiva Systems. He received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2004 and a Ph.D. in Systems and Control from the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department of the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008. He spent the summer of 2006 as a visiting researcher at the Air Force Research Lab and his final year of doctoral work as a visiting researcher at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hosting Professor: Yannis Paschalidis
Student Host: Taylor Locke