🍩 Database of Original & Non-Theoretical Uses of Topology

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  1. Efficient Planning of Multi-Robot Collective Transport Using Graph Reinforcement Learning With Higher Order Topological Abstraction (2023)

    Steve Paul, Wenyuan Li, Brian Smyth, Yuzhou Chen, Yulia Gel, Souma Chowdhury
    Abstract Efficient multi-robot task allocation (MRTA) is fundamental to various time-sensitive applications such as disaster response, warehouse operations, and construction. This paper tackles a particular class of these problems that we call MRTA-collective transport or MRTA-CT - here tasks present varying workloads and deadlines, and robots are subject to flight range, communication range, and payload constraints. For large instances of these problems involving 100s-1000's of tasks and 10s-100s of robots, traditional non-learning solvers are often time-inefficient, and emerging learning-based policies do not scale well to larger-sized problems without costly retraining. To address this gap, we use a recently proposed encoder-decoder graph neural network involving Capsule networks and multi-head attention mechanism, and innovatively add topological descriptors (TD) as new features to improve transferability to unseen problems of similar and larger size. Persistent homology is used to derive the TD, and proximal policy optimization is used to train our TD-augmented graph neural network. The resulting policy model compares favorably to state-of-the-art non-learning baselines while being much faster. The benefit of using TD is readily evident when scaling to test problems of size larger than those used in training.