This paper considers both synchronous and asynchronous consensus algorithms with noisy measurements. For stochastic approximation based consensus algorithms, the existing convergence analysis with dynamic topologies heavily relies on quadratic Lyapunov functions, whose existence, however, may be difficult to ensure for switching directed graphs. Our main contribution is to introduce a new analytical approach. We first show a fundamental role of ergodic backward products for mean square consensus in algorithms with additive noise. Subsequently, we develop ergodicity results for backward products of degenerating stochastic matrices converging to a 0-1 matrix via a discrete time dynamical system approach. These results complement the existing ergodic theory of stochastic matrices and provide an effective tool for analyzing consensus problems. Under a joint connectivity assumption, our approach may deal with switching topologies, delayed measurements and correlated noises, and it does not require the double stochasticity condition typically assumed for the existence of quadratic Lyapunov functions.

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Keywords Backward product, consensus, delay, ergodicity, mean square convergence, measurement noise, stochastic approximation, synchronous and asynchronous algorithms
Persistent URL
Journal IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control
Huang, M. (2012). Stochastic approximation for consensus: A new approach via ergodic backward products. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 57(12), 2994–3008. doi:10.1109/TAC.2012.2199149