Multi-agent source seeking via discrete-time extremum seeking control

Sei Zhen Khong, Ying Tan, Chris Manzie, Dragan Nešić

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Recent developments in extremum seeking theory have established a general framework for the methodology, although the specific implementations, particularly in the context of multi-agent systems, have not been demonstrated. In this work, a group of sensor-enabled vehicles is used in the context of the extremum seeking problem using both local and global optimisation algorithms to locate the extremum of an unknown scalar field distribution. For the former, the extremum seeker exploits estimates of gradients of the field from local dithering sensor measurements collected by the mobile agents. It is assumed that a distributed coordination which ensures uniform asymptotic stability with respect to a prescribed formation of the agents is employed. An inherent advantage of the frameworks is that a broad range of nonlinear programming algorithms can be combined with a wide class of cooperative control laws to perform extreme source seeking. Semi-global practical asymptotically stable convergence to local extrema is established in the presence of field sampling noise. Subsequently, global extremum seeking with multiple agents is investigated and shown to give rise to robust practical convergence whose speed can be improved via computational parallelism. Nonconvex field distributions with local extrema can be accommodated within this global framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2312-2320
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Swedish Research Council through the LCCC Linnaeus centre and the Australian Research Council . The material in this paper was not presented at any conference. This paper was recommended for publication in revised form by Associate Editor Nathan Van De Wouw under the direction of Editor Andrew R. Teel.

Funding Information:
Dragan Nešić is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (DEEE) at The University of Melbourne, Australia. He received his B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1990, and his Ph.D. degree from Systems Engineering, RSISE, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia in 1997. Since February 1999 he has been with The University of Melbourne. His research interests include networked control systems, discrete-time, sampled-data and continuous-time nonlinear control systems, input-to-state stability, extremum seeking control, applications of symbolic computation in control theory, hybrid control systems, and so on. He was awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship (2003) by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, an Australian Professorial Fellowship (2004–2009) and Future Fellowship (2010–2014) by the Australian Research Council. He is a Fellow of IEEE and a Fellow of IEAust. He is currently a Distinguished Lecturer of CSS, IEEE (since 2008). He served as an Associate Editor for the journals Automatica, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Systems and Control Letters and European Journal of Control.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Cooperative control
  • Extremum seeking
  • Local and global optimisation
  • Multi-agent systems


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