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In this technical note we investigate the reachability and observability properties of a network system, running a Laplacian based average consensus algorithm, when the communication graph is a path or a cycle. Specifically, we provide necessary and sufficient conditions, based on simple rules from number theory, to characterize all and only the nodes from which the network system is reachable (respectively observable). Interesting immediate corollaries of our results are: i) a path graph is reachable (observable) from any single node if and only if the number of nodes of the graph is a power of two,n = 2i ; i ∈N and ii) a cycle is reachable (observable) from any pair of nodes if and only if n is a prime number. For any set of control (observation) nodes, we provide a closed form expression for the (unreachable) unobservable eigenvalues and for the eigenvectors of the (unreachable) unobservable subsystem.
Date of Publication: March 2012