A multi-agent systems approach to distributed Bayesian information fusion
This paper introduces design principles for modular Bayesian fusion systems which can (i) cope with large quantities of heterogeneous information and (ii) can adapt to changing constellations of information sources on the fly. The presented approach exploits the locality of relations in causal probabilistic processes, which facilitates decentralized modeling and information fusion. Observed events resulting from stochastic causal processes can be modeled with the help of Bayesian networks, compact and mathematically rigorous probabilistic models. With the help of the theory of Bayesian networks and factor graphs we derive design and organization rules for modular fusion systems which implement exact belief propagation without centralized configuration and fusion control. These rules are applied in distributed perception networks (DPN), a multi-agent systems approach to distributed Bayesian information fusion. While each DPN agent has limited fusion capabilities, multiple DPN agents can autonomously collaborate to form complex modular fusion systems. Such self-organizing systems of agents can adapt to the available information sources at runtime and can infer critical hidden events through interpretation of complex patterns consisting of many heterogeneous observations.