Distributed Extremum-Seeking Control with Applications to High-Altitude Balloons
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The real-time optimization of large-scale systems is a difficult problem due to the need for complex models involving uncertain parameters and the high computational cost of solving such problems by a decentralized approach. Extremum-seeking control (ESC) is a model-free real-time optimization technique which can estimate unknown parameters and can optimize nonlinear time-varying systems using only a measurement of the cost function to be minimized. In this thesis, we develop a distributed version of extremum-seeking control which allows large-scale systems to be optimized without models and with minimal computing power. First, we develop a continuous-time distributed extremum-seeking controller. It has three main components: consensus, parameter estimation, and optimization. The consensus provides each local controller with an estimate of the cost to be minimized, allowing them to coordinate their actions. Using this cost estimate, parameters for a local input-output model are estimated, and the cost is minimized by following a gradient descent based on the estimate of the gradient. Next, a similar distributed extremum-seeking controller is developed in discrete-time. Finally, we consider an interesting application of distributed ESC: formation control of high-altitude balloons for high-speed wireless internet. These balloons must be steered into a favourable formation where they are spread out over the Earth and provide coverage to the entire planet. Distributed ESC is applied to this problem, and is shown to be effective for a system of 1200 ballons subjected to realistic wind currents. The approach does not require a wind model and uses a cost function based on a Voronoi partition of the sphere. Distributed ESC is able to steer balloons from a few initial launch sites into a formation which provides coverage to the entire Earth and can maintain a similar formation as the balloons move with the wind around the Earth.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/14819
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