AbstractsComputer Science

Information spread in networks: games, optimal control, and stabilization

by Ali Khanafer

Institution: University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Department: 1200
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: Game Theory
Record ID: 2060804
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/72769


This thesis focuses on designing efficient mechanisms for controlling information spread in networks. We consider two models for information spread. The first one is the well-known distributed averaging dynamics. The second model is a nonlinear one that describes virus spread in computer and biological networks. We seek to design optimal, robust, and stabilizing controllers under practical constraints. For distributed averaging networks, we study the interaction between a network designer and an adversary. We consider two types of attacks on the network. In Attack-I, the adversary strategically disconnects a set of links to prevent the nodes from reaching consensus. Meanwhile, the network designer assists the nodes in reaching consensus by changing the weights of a limited number of links in the network. We formulate two problems to describe this competition where the order in which the players act is reversed in the two problems. Although the canonical equations provided by the Pontryagin's Maximum Principle (MP) seem to be intractable, we provide an alternative characterization for the optimal strategies that makes connection to potential theory. Further, we provide a sufficient condition for the existence of a saddle-point equilibrium (SPE) for the underlying zero-sum game. In Attack-II, the designer and the adversary are both capable of altering the measurements of all nodes in the network by injecting global signals. We impose two constraints on both players: a power constraint and an energy constraint. We assume that the available energy to each player is not sufficient to operate at maximum power throughout the horizon of the game. We show the existence of an SPE and derive the optimal strategies in closed form for this attack scenario. As an alternative to the "network designer vs. adversary" framework, we investigate the possibility of stabilizing unknown network diffusion processes using a distributed mechanism, where the uncertainty is due to an attack on the network. To this end, we propose a distributed version of the classical logic-based supervisory control scheme. Given a network of agents whose dynamics contain unknown parameters, the distributed supervisory control scheme is used to assist the agents to converge to a certain set-point without requiring them to have explicit knowledge of that set-point. Unlike the classical supervisory control scheme where a centralized supervisor makes switching decisions among the candidate controllers, in our scheme, each agent is equipped with a local supervisor that switches among the available controllers. The switching decisions made at a certain agent depend only on the information from its neighboring agents. We provide sufficient conditions for stabilization and apply our framework to the distributed averaging problem in the presence of large modeling uncertainty. For infected networks, we study the stability properties of a susceptible-infected-susceptible (SIS) diffusion model, so-called the n-intertwined Markov model, over arbitrary network…