LSU Electrical Engineering, Kent State Researchers’ Paper Selected at Top Conference

May 2, 2023 

BATON ROUGE, LA – A paper by a team of LSU and Kent State University researchers was recently selected as a best paper candidate at the International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS), a leading conference in the area and the flagship conference on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Technical Committee on Parallel Processing.

The conference’s typical paper acceptance rate is around 25%. The paper will be presented at a plenary session of the conference.

The paper is titled, “On Doorway Egress by Autonomous Robots,” and was written by LSU Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) Professor Ramachandran Vaidyanathan; LSU ECE Chair and Professor Jerry Trahan; Kent State Associate Professor of Computer Science Gokarna Sharma, who received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at LSU; and Rory Hector, now with the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Panama City Division, who received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at LSU.

In the paper, the group considers the distributed setting of autonomous mobile robots operating on a 2D plane. In each cycle, a robot takes a snapshot of the environment, performs a computation on the basis of that snapshot, and then moves toward a desired destination. These actions by individual robots could be completely asynchronous (independent in time). Robots can collide if they share positions or their paths intersect.

In general, these robots have limited capabilities, and work rather myopically (based on local information) to achieve a global goal.

What the research team studied was “Doorway Egress,” the problem of robots exiting through a doorway from one side of a wall to the other. The key challenge of this foundational problem of coordinating robot motion is that robots must not collide in exiting through the door. Numerous non-colliding paths exist for the robots to exit through the door, so a key question is can a distributed algorithm be constructed for the robots to move safely and efficiently through the door? The paper established that without some form of synchronous operation, it is impossible to exit through the door in one time unit (regardless of how wide the door is). Further, the paper showed that if a form of synchrony called “semi-synchrony” is available, then the robots can indeed exit the door in one time unit. The paper presented other algorithms that achieve various trade-offs in time and model abilities.

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Contact: Joshua Duplechain
Director of Communications