Collaborative Multi-Agent Video Fast-Forwarding

Shuyue Lan, Zhilu Wang, Ermin Wei, Amit K. Roy-Chowdhury, Qi Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multi-agent applications have recently gained significant popularity. In many computer vision tasks, a network of agents, such as a team of robots with cameras, could work collaboratively to perceive the environment for efficient and accurate situation awareness. However, these agents often have limited computation, communication, and storage resources. Thus, reducing resource consumption while still providing an accurate perception of the environment becomes an important goal when deploying multi-agent systems. To achieve this goal, we identify and leverage the overlap among different camera views in multi-agent systems for reducing the processing, transmission and storage of redundant/unimportant video frames. Specifically, we have developed two collaborative multi-agent video fast-forwarding frameworks in distributed and centralized settings, respectively. In these frameworks, each individual agent can selectively process or skip video frames at adjustable paces based on multiple strategies via reinforcement learning. Multiple agents then collaboratively sense the environment via either 1) a consensus-based distributed framework called DMVF that periodically updates the fast-forwarding strategies of agents by establishing communication and consensus among connected neighbors, or 2) a centralized framework called MFFNet that utilizes a central controller to decide the fast-forwarding strategies for agents based on collected data. We demonstrate the efficacy and efficiency of our proposed frameworks on a real-world surveillance video dataset VideoWeb and a new simulated driving dataset CarlaSim, through extensive simulations and deployment on an embedded platform with TCP communication. We show that compared with other approaches in the literature, our frameworks achieve better coverage of important frames, while significantly reducing the number of frames processed at each agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1041-1054
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Multimedia
StatePublished - 2024


  • Video fast-forwarding
  • multi-agent systems
  • reinforcement learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Science Applications


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