Fair and Sparse Solutions in Network-Decentralized Flow Control

Franco Blanchini*, Carlos Andres Devia, Giulia Giordano, Raffaele Pesenti, Francesca Rosset

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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We proposed network-decentralized control strategies, in which each actuator can exclusively rely on local information, without knowing the network topology and the external input, ensuring that the flow asymptotically converges to the optimal one with respect to the p -norm. For 1 < p < ∞ , the flow converges to a unique constant optimal up∗. We show that the state converges to the optimal Lagrange multiplier of the optimization problem. Then, we consider networks where the flows are affected by unknown spontaneous dynamics and the buffers need to be driven exactly to a desired set-point. We propose a network-decentralized proportional-integral controller that achieves this goal along with asymptotic flow optimality; now it is the integral variable that converges to the optimal Lagrange multiplier. The extreme cases p=1 and p=∞ are of some interest since the former encourages sparsity of the solution while the latter promotes fairness. Unfortunately, for p=1 or p=∞ these strategies become discontinuous and lead to chattering of the flow, hence no optimality is achieved. We then show how to approximately achieve the goal as the limit for p 1 or p ∞.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2984-2989
JournalIEEE Control Systems Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Actuators
  • buffer level control
  • Costs
  • Decentralized control
  • flow networks
  • Minimization
  • Optimization
  • p-norm minimisation
  • PI control
  • Steady-state
  • unknown dynamics


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