Probabilistic Topologies with Applications in Security and Resilience of Multi-Robot Systems

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Virginia Tech


Multi-robot systems (MRSs) have gained significant momentum as of late in the robotics community as they find application in tasks such as unknown environment exploration, distributed surveillance, and search and rescue. Operating robot teams in real world environments introduces a notion of uncertainty into the system, especially when it comes to the ability of the MRS to reliably communicate. This poses a significant challenge as a stable communication topology is the backbone of the team's ability to coordinate. Additionally, as these systems continue to evolve and integrate further into our society, a growing threat of adversarial attackers pose the risk of compromising nominal operation. As such, this dissertation aims to model the effects of uncertainty in communication on the topology of the MRS using a probabilistic interaction model. More specifically we are interested in studying a probabilistic perspective to those topologies that pertain to the security and resilience of an MRS against adversarial attacks. Having a model that is capable of capturing how probabilistic topologies may evolve over time is essential for secure and resilient planning under communication uncertainty. As a result, we develop probabilistic models, both exact and approximate, for the topological properties of system left-invertibility and (r, s)-robustness that respectively characterize the security and resilience of an MRS. In our modeling, we use binary decision diagrams, convolutional neural networks, matroid theory and more to tackle the problems related to probabilistic security and resilience where we find exact solutions, calculate bounds, solve optimization problems, and compute informative paths for exploration.



Multi-Robot Systems, Probabilistic Topologies, Security of Robot Teams, Resilience of Robot Teams, Optimization