Consensus in the presence of interference

Usman A. Khan, Shuchin Aeron

This paper studies distributed strategies for average-consensus of arbitrary vectors in the presence of network interference. We assume that the underlying communication on any \emph{link} suffers from \emph{additive interference} caused due to the communication by other agents following their own consensus protocol. Additionally, no agent knows how many or which agents are interfering with its communication. Clearly, the standard consensus protocol does not remain applicable in such scenarios. In this paper, we cast an algebraic structure over the interference and show that the standard protocol can be modified such that the average is reachable in a subspace whose dimension is complimentary to the maximal dimension of the interference subspaces (over all of the communication links). To develop the results, we use \emph{information alignment} to align the intended transmission (over each link) to the null-space of the interference (on that link). We show that this alignment is indeed invertible, i.e. the intended transmission can be recovered over which, subsequently, consensus protocol is implemented. That \emph{local} protocols exist even when the collection of the interference subspaces span the entire vector space is somewhat surprising.

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