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See detailTask-Oriented Communication Design in Cyber-Physical Systems: A Survey on Theory and Applications
Mostaani, Arsham UL; Vu, Thang Xuan UL; Sharma, Shree Krishna UL et al

in IEEE Access (2022)

Communication system design has been traditionally guided by task-agnostic principles, which aim at efficiently transmitting as many correct bits as possible through a given channel. However, in the era ... [more ▼]

Communication system design has been traditionally guided by task-agnostic principles, which aim at efficiently transmitting as many correct bits as possible through a given channel. However, in the era of cyber-physical systems, the effectiveness of communications is not dictated simply by the bit rate, but most importantly by the efficient completion of the task in hand, e.g., controlling remotely a robot, automating a production line or collaboratively sensing through a drone swarm. In parallel, it is projected that by 2023, half of the worldwide network connections will be among machines rather than humans. In this context, it is crucial to establish a new paradigm for designing communication strategies for multi-agent cyber-physical systems. This is a daunting task, since it requires a combination of principles from information, communication, control theories and computer science in order to formalize a general framework for task-oriented communication designs. In this direction, this paper reviews and structures the relevant theoretical work across a wide range of scientific communities. Subsequently, it proposes a general conceptual framework for task-oriented communication design, along with its specializations according to targeted use cases. Furthermore, it provides a survey of relevant contributions in dominant applications, such as industrial internet of things, multi-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems, autonomous vehicles, distributed learning systems, smart manufacturing plants, 5G and beyond self-organizing networks, and tactile internet. Finally, this paper also highlights the most important open research topics from both the theoretical framework and application points of view. [less ▲]

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See detailTask-Oriented Data Compression for Multi-Agent Communications Over Bit-Budgeted Channels
Mostaani, Arsham UL; Vu, Thang Xuan UL; Chatzinotas, Symeon UL et al

in IEEE Open Journal of the Communications Society (2022)

Various applications for inter-machine communications are on the rise. Whether it is for autonomous driving vehicles or the internet of everything, machines are more connected than ever to improve their ... [more ▼]

Various applications for inter-machine communications are on the rise. Whether it is for autonomous driving vehicles or the internet of everything, machines are more connected than ever to improve their performance in fulfilling a given task. While in traditional communications the goal has often been to reconstruct the underlying message, under the emerging task-oriented paradigm, the goal of communication is to enable the receiving end to make more informed decisions or more precise estimates/computations. Motivated by these recent developments, in this paper, we perform an indirect design of the communications in a multi-agent system (MAS) in which agents cooperate to maximize the averaged sum of discounted one-stage rewards of a collaborative task. Due to the bit-budgeted communications between the agents, each agent should efficiently represent its local observation and communicate an abstracted version of the observations to improve the collaborative task performance. We first show that this problem can be approximated as a form of data-quantization problem which we call task-oriented data compression (TODC). We then introduce the state-aggregation for information compression algorithm (SAIC) to solve the formulated TODC problem. It is shown that SAIC is able to achieve near-optimal performance in terms of the achieved sum of discounted rewards. The proposed algorithm is applied to a geometric consensus problem and its performance is compared with several benchmarks. Numerical experiments confirm the promise of this indirect design approach for task-oriented multi-agent communications. [less ▲]

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See detailEvolution of Non-Terrestrial Networks From 5G to 6G: A Survey
Azari, M. Mahdi; Solanki, Sourabh UL; Chatzinotas, Symeon UL et al

in IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials (2022), 24(4), 2633-2672

Non-terrestrial networks (NTNs) traditionally have certain limited applications. However, the recent technological advancements and manufacturing cost reduction opened up myriad applications of NTNs for ... [more ▼]

Non-terrestrial networks (NTNs) traditionally have certain limited applications. However, the recent technological advancements and manufacturing cost reduction opened up myriad applications of NTNs for 5G and beyond networks, especially when integrated into terrestrial networks (TNs). This article comprehensively surveys the evolution of NTNs highlighting their relevance to 5G networks and essentially, how it will play a pivotal role in the development of 6G ecosystem. We discuss important features of NTNs integration into TNs and the synergies by delving into the new range of services and use cases, various architectures, technological enablers, and higher layer aspects pertinent to NTNs integration. Moreover, we review the corresponding challenges arising from the technical peculiarities and the new approaches being adopted to develop efficient integrated ground-air-space (GAS) networks. Our survey further includes the major progress and outcomes from academic research as well as industrial efforts representing the main industrial trends, field trials, and prototyping towards the 6G networks. [less ▲]

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See detailState Aggregation for Multiagent Communication over Rate-Limited Channels
Mostaani, Arsham UL; Vu, Thang Xuan UL; Chatzinotas, Symeon UL et al

in State Aggregation for Multiagent Communication over Rate-Limited Channels (2020, December)

A collaborative task is assigned to a multiagent system (MAS) in which agents are allowed to communicate. The MAS runs over an underlying Markov decision process and its task is to maximize the averaged ... [more ▼]

A collaborative task is assigned to a multiagent system (MAS) in which agents are allowed to communicate. The MAS runs over an underlying Markov decision process and its task is to maximize the averaged sum of discounted one-stage rewards. Although knowing the global state of the environment is necessary for the optimal action selection of the MAS, agents are limited to individual observations. The inter-agent communication can tackle the issue of local observability, however, the limited rate of the inter-agent communication prevents the agent from acquiring the precise global state information. To overcome this challenge, agents need to communicate their observations in a compact way such that the MAS compromises the minimum possible sum of rewards. We show that this problem is equivalent to a form of rate-distortion problem which we call the task-based information compression. State Aggregation for Information Compression (SAIC) is introduced here to perform the task-based information compression. The SAIC is shown, conditionally, to be capable of achieving the optimal performance in terms of the attained sum of discounted rewards. The proposed algorithm is applied to a rendezvous problem and its performance is compared with two benchmarks; (i) conventional source coding algorithms and the (ii) centralized multiagent control using reinforcement learning. Numerical experiments confirm the superiority and fast convergence of the proposed SAIC. [less ▲]

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See detailLearning-based Physical Layer Communications for Multiagent Collaboration
Mostaani, Arsham UL; Simeone, Osvaldo; Chatzinotas, Symeon UL et al

in Mostaani, Arsham; Simeone, Osvaldo; Chatzinotas, Symeon (Eds.) et al PIMRC 2019 Proceedings (2019, September 11)

Consider a collaborative task carried out by two autonomous agents that can communicate over a noisy channel. Each agent is only aware of its own state, while the accomplishment of the task depends on the ... [more ▼]

Consider a collaborative task carried out by two autonomous agents that can communicate over a noisy channel. Each agent is only aware of its own state, while the accomplishment of the task depends on the value of the joint state of both agents. As an example, both agents must simultaneously reach a certain location of the environment, while only being aware of their own positions. Assuming the presence of feedback in the form of a common reward to the agents, a conventional approach would apply separately: (\emph{i}) an off-the-shelf coding and decoding scheme in order to enhance the reliability of the communication of the state of one agent to the other; and (\emph{ii}) a standard multiagent reinforcement learning strategy to learn how to act in the resulting environment. In this work, it is argued that the performance of the collaborative task can be improved if the agents learn how to jointly communicate and act. In particular, numerical results for a baseline grid world example demonstrate that the jointly learned policy carries out compression and unequal error protection by leveraging information about the action policy. [less ▲]

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