Applying game theory to predict the future of satellite internet

Published: Jul 20, 2020 11:55 AM

By Cassie Montgomery

Satellite internet is the future of internet access, not only for the United States, but the rest of the world. Technology companies are actively exploring this business sector, referred to as the proliferated satellite constellations market, evaluating business models and market variables that may help or hinder their success in this new arena.

What if there was a way to predict how the satellite internet economy might play out in the years to come?

Auburn University aerospace engineering assistant professor Davide Guzzetti is working to help shed light on the potential of such an economy with a new project titled “Sat-Tycoon: Modelling Economic Competition in the Business of Mega-Constellations.” Guzzetti is collaborating with Daniel Tauritz, interim director and chief cyber AI strategist at the Auburn Cyber Research Center, whose research interests include adversarial AI.

This project, funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory, “aims at developing a zero-sum game framework to model economic competition within the business of proliferated satellite constellations to simulate the outcome of strategic decisions and acquire insight on which factors drive the success of such enterprises,” he explained.

The potential positive impact of mega-constellations cannot be overstated. Once the infrastructure is in place, ubiquitous internet access will be available around the globe.

“Insight into entry phase industry dynamics will enable better-informed decisions on strategic investments that, in turn, will benefit the entire population of the nation or even the planet,” he said. “The benefits to the population are both direct in an increase of the quality of life by this new service offering, and indirect in the increase of one’s nation’s welfare.”

Using engineering principles, Guzzetti will be applying a zero-sum game framework to work through the unknown variables in the emerging proliferated satellite constellations market.

“Dr. Guzzetti’s innovative gamification approach to model and analyze the economic market of proliferated satellite constellations, cleverly titled to pay homage to the classic game Railroad Tycoon, provides a uniquely rich environment for exploring novel business strategies through the use of adversarial AI agents to approximate the optimal game-theoretic trade-offs,” Tauritz said.

Through gamification, the goal is to be able to build upon the knowledge base for artificial intelligence algorithms, provide a framework that facilitates industry training and recruitment of personnel, test risk-taking strategies and simulate design decisions. The simulation tool will also be used for STEM education.

“In particular, the simulation can be easily transformed into a tool to educate the public on the importance of proliferated satellite constellations, expose students to engineering challenges within constellation design and present the multidisciplinary nature of the satellite industry by displaying the mutual interaction between engineering and economic factors,” Guzzetti explained.

Media Contact: Cassie Montgomery,, 334.844.3668

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