Project Description

The framework of this MAIS+S is that of Cyber-Physical Systems for Ambient Intelligence, one of the three key focused areas identified within the strategic plan for the CMU | Portugal Program. The project deals with the problem of planning in decentralized multiagent systems in the context of intelligent surveillance networks.


With the generalized use of "intelligent technology", the interaction between multiple smart devices poses interesting challenges both in terms of engineering and research. One interesting aspect of this phenomenon in the context of MAIS+S is the appearance of networks of heterogeneous devices that must operate in a fully distributed manner while sharing information necessary to complete some preassigned task. In MAIS+S, such complex networks are modelled as multiagent systems, by interpreting individual nodes or groups of nodes with autonomous agents. This interpretation suggests several interesting research avenues, some of which are the focus of the project.


We use of a class of decision-theoretic models that naturally captures the decentralized nature of these networks in terms of local perception (the information that each node can acquire per se), interaction/communication (the exchange of information between the nodes) and local actuation (each node processes locally the available information and acts accordingly). In fact, one can argue that several systems typically considered in a fully centralized fashion (such as surveillance systems) could potentially benefit from this multiagent view (e.g. in terms of robustness, more efficient communication, etc).

We are interested in heterogeneous surveillance networks that include different kinds of nodes, possibly with different perceptual and actuation capabilities, as well as different processing power. From this perspective it is natural, for example, to have nodes corresponding to cameras mounted on mobile robots. The control and even the positioning of the robots should be decided locally but in such a way to globally optimize the performance of the network.


The project is divided into 4 tasks:

  • Scalability : This task explores the impact of local interactions in distributed decision-making in networked systems.
  • Efficient communication: This task studies the tradeoff between using communication to simplify the decision process against the cost of overloading the communication channels.
  • Vision: This task explores the problem of multi-camera tracking and action recognition using multiple cameras.
  • Deployment: This task concerns the implementation of a simple prototype of the system in a structured environment in the facilities of ISR, using an existing network infrastructure.