The objective of the series Cooperative Systems is to publish monographs and contributed works containing state-of-the-art expository research covering all topics in the field of cooperative systems. In addition, the series will include texts and monographs which are suitable for graduate-level courses in engineering, business, applied mathematics, biomedicine, operations research, and computer science.
A cooperative system is defined to be a system of multiple dynamic entities that share information or tasks to accomplish a common, though perhaps not singular, objective. Examples of cooperative control systems might include robots operating within a manufacturing cell, unmanned aircraft in search-and-rescue operations or military surveillance and attack missions, arrays of micro satellites that form a distributed large aperture radar, employees operating within an organization, and software agents. The term "entity” is most often associated with vehicles capable of physical motion, such as robots, automobiles, ships, and aircraft, but the definition extends to any entity concept that exhibits a time-dependent behavior. Critical to cooperation is communication, which may be accomplished through active message passing or by passive observation. It is assumed that cooperation is being used to accomplish some common purpose that is greater than the purpose of each individual, but also recognized that the individual may have other objectives as well, perhaps due to being a member of other caucuses. This implies that cooperation may assume hierarchical forms. The decision-making processes (i.e., the control) are typically thought to be distributed or decentralized to some degree. For, if not, a cooperative system could always be modeled as a single entity. The level of cooperation may be indicated by the amount of information exchanged between entities. Cooperative systems may involve task sharing and can consist of heterogeneous systems if they are composed of humans and machines. Finally, one is often interested in how cooperative systems perform under noisy or adversary conditions.
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