Distributed Inference in Dynamical Systems

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 19 (NIPS 2006)

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Stanislav Funiak, Carlos Guestrin, Rahul Sukthankar, Mark Paskin


We present a robust distributed algorithm for approximate probabilistic inference in dynamical systems, such as sensor networks and teams of mobile robots. Using assumed density filtering, the network nodes maintain a tractable representation of the belief state in a distributed fashion. At each time step, the nodes coordinate to condition this distribution on the observations made throughout the network, and to advance this estimate to the next time step. In addition, we identify a significant challenge for probabilistic inference in dynamical systems: message losses or network partitions can cause nodes to have inconsistent beliefs about the current state of the system. We address this problem by developing distributed algorithms that guarantee that nodes will reach an informative consistent distribution when communication is re-established. We present a suite of experimental results on real-world sensor data for two real sensor network deployments: one with 25 cameras and another with 54 temperature sensors.