University of Minnesota


DTC Seminar Series

Distributed Coordination in Networked Systems under Limited Communication


Na (Lina) Li
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
4:00 p.m. reception
4:30 p.m. seminar

401/402 Walter Library

La Li

A major issue in cyber-physical networks is how individual components can autonomously change their local decisions to achieve near maximum efficiency for the network. Limited communications between individual devices further challenge the design of local decision rules. In this talk, I will first focus on distributed coordination in power systems to present how we can extract information from physical measurements and develop fast and closed-loop decentralized control algorithms. Then I will move to a broad class of distributed optimization problems and focus on gradient methods to study how quantization can further reduce communication without significantly degrading the algorithm performance. We also investigate the communication complexity of the gradient-based algorithm, the minimal number of communicated bits needed to solve some classes of optimization problems regardless of the quantization schemes.


Na Li is a Thomas D. Cabot associate professor in Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. She received her Bachelor degree in Mathematics at Zhejiang University in 2007 and Ph.D. degree in Control and Dynamical systems at California Institute of Technology in 2013. She was a postdoctoral associate of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2013-2014. She has joined Harvard University since 2014. Her research lies in distributed optimization and control of cyber-physical networked systems. She received NSF career award (2016), AFSOR Young Investigator Award (2017), ONR Young Investigator Award(2019), Harvard Climate Change Solution Fund, Harvard PSE Accelerator Award, 2011 CDC Best Student Paper Award finalist (as a student author) and 2018 CCTA best student paper award finalist (as an adviser).

Contact Information

Digital Technology Center

499 Walter Library, 117 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: (612) 624-9510

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