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Distributed planning and control techniques provide potential advantages over centralized processing in speed, cost, reliability, flexibility, and minimization of long-distance communications for a variety of tasks, including military threat assessment, command and control decisionmaking, disaster relief coordination, and civilian air traffic control. Six different architectures for distribution of control among multiple processors are presented, and the influences of different task environments on each are discussed. The work focuses primarily on the use of distributed planning and control for civilian air traffic control. One architecture, in which each aircraft is controlled by a separate processor, is described in detail in an illustrative scenario. An initial system design is presented in which cooperating "experts" comprise a processor. These cooperating experts sense or infer aircraft intentions, generate and evaluate plans, control and monitor plan execution, and communicate with other processors.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.