Distributed Stochastic Optimization via Correlated Scheduling

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 4:00pm to Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 3:55pm

Event Calendar Category

LIDS Seminar Series

Speaker Name

Michael J. Neely


University of Southern California

Building and Room Number



This talk considers two distributed optimization problems.  In the first problem, multiple users make repeated decisions based on their own observed events.  The events and decisions at each time step determine the values of a utility function and a collection of penalty functions.  The goal is to make distributed decisions over time to maximize a time average utility subject to time average constraints on the penalties.  An example is a collection of power constrained sensors that repeatedly report their own observations to a fusion center. Maximum time average utility is fundamentally reduced because users do not know the events observed by others.  Optimality is characterized for this distributed context.  It is shown that optimality is achieved by correlating user decisions through a commonly known pseudorandom sequence.  An optimal algorithm is developed that chooses pure strategies at each time step based on a set of time-varying weights.
The second problem treats multiple systems that perform tasks over different timescales, such as a collection of smart devices that perform data processing and communication using separate chips. The resulting optimization problem is non-convex and has fractional terms with different denominators.  An asynchronous drift-plus-penalty ratio algorithm is developed for optimality.


Michael J. Neely received B.S. degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1997. He was then awarded a 3 year Department of Defense NDSEG Fellowship for graduate study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received an M.S. degree in 1999 and a Ph.D. in 2003, both in Electrical Engineering. He joined the faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California in 2004, where he is currently an Associate Professor. His research interests are in the areas of stochastic network optimization and queueing theory, with applications to wireless networks, mobile ad-hoc networks, and switching systems. Michael received the NSF Career award in 2008 and the Viterbi School of Engineering Junior Research Award in 2009, and the Okawa Foundation Research Award in 2013. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Phi Beta Kappa.​