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Autonomous wireless agents such as unmanned aerial vehicles, mobile base stations, cognitive devices, or self-operating wireless nodes present a great potential for deployment in next-generation wireless networks. While current literature has been mainly focused on the use of agents within robotics or software engineering applications, this paper proposes a novel usage model for self-organizing agents suitable for wireless communication networks. In the proposed model, a number of agents are required to collect data from several arbitrarily located tasks. Each task represents a queue of packets that require collection and subsequent wireless transmission by the agents to a central receiver. The problem is modeled as a hedonic coalition formation game between the agents and the tasks that interact in order to form disjoint coalitions. Each formed coalition is modeled as a polling system consisting of a number of agents, designated as collectors, which move between the different tasks present in the coalition, collect and transmit the packets. Within each coalition, some agents might also take the role of a relay for improving the packet success rate of the transmission. The proposed hedonic coalition formation algorithm allows the tasks and the agents to take distributed decisions to join or leave a coalition, based on the achieved benefit in terms of effective throughput, and the cost in terms of polling system delay. As a result of these decisions, the agents and tasks structure themselves into independent disjoint coalitions which constitute a Nash-stable network partition. Moreover, the proposed coalition formation algorithm allows the agents and tasks to adapt the topology to environmental changes, such as the arrival of new tasks, the removal of existing tasks, or the mobility of the tasks. Simulation results show how the proposed algorithm allows the agents and tasks to self-organize into independent coalitions, while improving the performance, in terms of ave- - rage player (agent or task) payoff, of at least 30.26 percent (for a network of five agents with up to 25 tasks) relatively to a scheme that allocates nearby tasks equally among agents.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2011