The role of common "context" in signaling

Pulkit Grover, Cedric Langbort

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

In order to signal effectively, is it sufficient for decentralized agents to share a signaling protocol, a common language? In this paper, we argue that the agents also need a common signaling "context" that can depend on the environment. Paralleling traditional communication, where mapping of information-sequence to codewords can be thought of as a "language", the meaning attached to points in the state-space defines a signaling-language. In this framework, the coordinate-axes of an agent can be viewed as its signaling-context. By investigating the impact of context-misalignment in the minimalist signaling problem, the Witsenhausen counterexample, we show that significant context-misalignment can lead to lack of coordination despite agreement on the signaling-language. While Witsenhausen's counterexample is a single-shot problem, decentralized agents often act for longer time-horizons. By formulating a multi-shot extension of Witsenhausen's counterexample, we show that the agents can arrive at a common context by observing the costs arising due to their actions at previous time-steps, and are then able to use their common language to coordinate effectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2011 50th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control and European Control Conference, CDC-ECC 2011
Pages5535-5540
Number of pages6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Event2011 50th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control and European Control Conference, CDC-ECC 2011 - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Dec 12 2011Dec 15 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control
ISSN (Print)0191-2216

Other

Other2011 50th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control and European Control Conference, CDC-ECC 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL
Period12/12/1112/15/11

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Control and Optimization

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