Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Electrical & Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Ali Jadbabaie

Second Advisor

Alejandro Ribeiro


Many challenges in network science and engineering today arise from systems composed of many individual agents interacting over a network. Such problems range from humans interacting with each other in social networks to computers processing and exchanging information over wired or wireless networks. In any application where information is spread out spatially, solutions must address information aggregation in addition to the decision process itself. Intelligently addressing the trade off between information aggregation and decision accuracy is fundamental to finding solutions quickly and accurately. Network optimization challenges such as these have generated a lot of interest in distributed optimization methods. The field of distributed optimization deals with iterative methods which perform calculations using locally available information. Early methods such as subgradient descent suffer very slow convergence rates because the underlying optimization method is a first order method. My work addresses problems in the area of network optimization and control with an emphasis on accelerating the rate of convergence by using a faster underlying optimization method. In the case of convex network flow optimization, the problem is transformed to the dual domain, moving the equality constraints which guarantee flow conservation into the objective. The Newton direction can be computed locally by using a consensus iteration to solve a Poisson equation, but this requires a lot of communication between neighboring nodes. Accelerated Dual Descent (ADD) is an approximate Newton method, which significantly reduces the communication requirement. Defining a stochastic version of the convex network flow problem with edge capacities yields a problem equivalent to the queue stability problem studied in the backpressure literature. Accelerated Backpressure (ABP) is developed to solve the queue stabilization problem. A queue reduction method is introduced by merging ideas from integral control and momentum based optimization.