Title: Information, Feedback and Decision-making in Biological Multi-agent Systems
Dr. Weitz, Advisor
Dr. Wardi, Co-Advisor
Dr. Egerstedt, Chair
The objective of the proposed research is to develop a theoretical understanding of multi-agent systems observed in biology and other non-engineered systems. We apply modeling concepts and mathematical tools from decentralized multi-agent control to the analysis of complex multi-agent biological systems. In doing so, we gain insights into their underlying mechanisms and potential methods for influence. Three examples we study are epidemic spreading in a population of aware individuals, microbial communication, and the evolution of cooperation with game-environment feedback. These examples incorporate three central concepts from control theory - information, feedback, and decision-making. The operation of these systems depend on how information or incentives are distributed among the agents, and the decisions they make affecting the population-level welfare. We analyze their inherent behaviors and outline methods in which they can be influenced.