Distributed Riemannian Optimization with Lazy Communication for Collaborative Geometric Estimation


We present the first distributed optimization algorithm with lazy communication for collaborative geometric estimation, the backbone of modern collaborative simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) and structure-from-motion (SfM) applications. Our method allows agents to cooperatively reconstruct a shared geometric model on a central server by fusing individual observations, but without the need to transmit potentially sensitive information about the agents themselves (such as their locations). Furthermore, to alleviate the burden of communication during iterative optimization, we design a set of communication triggering conditions that enable agents to selectively upload local information that is useful to global optimization. Our approach thus achieves significant communication reduction with minimal impact on optimization performance. As our main theoretical contribution, we prove that our method converges to first-order critical points with a sublinear convergence rate. Numerical evaluations on bundle adjustment problems from collaborative SLAM and SfM datasets show that our method performs competitively against existing distributed techniques, while achieving up to 78% total communication reduction.

IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems