Cooperative Control and Potential Games

J. R. Marden*, G. Arslan, J. S. Shamma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

408 Scopus citations


We present a view of cooperative control using the language of learning in games. We review the game-theoretic concepts of potential and weakly acyclic games, and demonstrate how several cooperative control problems, such as consensus and dynamic sensor coverage, can be formulated in these settings. Motivated by this connection, we build upon game-theoretic concepts to better accommodate a broader class of cooperative control problems. In particular, we extend existing learning algorithms to accommodate restricted action sets caused by the limitations of agent capabilities and group-based decision making. Furthermore, we also introduce a new class of games called sometimes weakly acyclic games for time-varying objective functions and action sets, and provide distributed algorithms for convergence to an equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1393-1407
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received September 16, 2008; revised January 28, 2009. First published April 14, 2009; current version published November 18, 2009. This work was supported in part by the Social and Information Sciences Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, by the Army Research Office under Grant W911NF04316, by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under Grant FA9550-08-1-0375, and by the National Science Foundation under Grant ECS-0501394 and Grant ECCS-0547692. This paper was recommended by Associate Editor T. Vasilakos.

Funding Information:
Dr. Arslan was the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in May 2006.


  • Cooperative control
  • Cooperative systems
  • Game theory
  • Learning
  • Learning in games
  • Multi-agent systems
  • Multiagent systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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