Design of multi-actor distributed processing systems: A game-theoretical approach

Ana I. Torres, George Stephanopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The manufacturing of a final product could be the result of a value chain involving several processing plants distributed across several distinct owners; a feature that may prevent the application of classical process design approaches that depend on a centralized treatment of the complete processing network. In this article we propose and develop a game-theoretical framework and specific methodologies, which allow the optimal design of distributed processing systems, through the decentralized strategies of independent actors. The resulting process design corresponds to a Nash Equilibrium point among the interacting actors. Its optimality and the justification of the independent strategies that led to it, are theoretically based on (and constrained by) the properties of the 2-level Lagrangian approach. The article also discusses the use of penalty-term approaches, which can extend the applicability of the proposed framework and design methodologies to problems for which the underlying convexity assumptions of the 2-level Lagrangian approach may not be possible to ascertain. A series of case studies illustrate the application of the proposed ideas to distributed processing networks of various structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3369-3391
Number of pages23
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • distributed processing systems
  • game theory
  • manufacturing networks
  • process design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering


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