Publications about 'reinforcement learning'
Articles in journal or book chapters
  1. E.D. Sontag. Remarks on input to state stability of perturbed gradient flows, motivated by model-free feedback control learning. Systems and Control Letters, 161:105138, 2022. [PDF] Keyword(s): iss, input to state stability, data-driven control, gradient systems, steepest descent, model-free control.
    Recent work on data-driven control and reinforcement learning has renewed interest in a relatively old field in control theory: model-free optimal control approaches which work directly with a cost function and do not rely upon perfect knowledge of a system model. Instead, an "oracle" returns an estimate of the cost associated to, for example, a proposed linear feedback law to solve a linear-quadratic regulator problem. This estimate, and an estimate of the gradient of the cost, might be obtained by performing experiments on the physical system being controlled. This motivates in turn the analysis of steepest descent algorithms and their associated gradient differential equations. This paper studies the effect of errors in the estimation of the gradient, framed in the language of input to state stability, where the input represents a perturbation from the true gradient. Since one needs to study systems evolving on proper open subsets of Euclidean space, a self-contained review of input to state stability definitions and theorems for systems that evolve on such sets is included. The results are then applied to the study of noisy gradient systems, as well as the associated steepest descent algorithms.

Conference articles
  1. M. Sznaier, A. Olshevsky, and E.D. Sontag. The role of systems theory in control oriented learning. In Proc. 25th Int. Symp. Mathematical Theory of Networks and Systems (MTNS 2022), 2022. Note: To appear.[PDF] Keyword(s): control oriented learning, neural networks, reinforcement learning, feedback control, machine learning.
    Systems theory can play an important in unveiling fundamental limitations of learning algorithms and architectures when used to control a dynamical system, and in suggesting strategies for overcoming these limitations. As an example, a feedforward neural network cannot stabilize a double integrator using output feedback. Similarly, a recurrent NN with differentiable activation functions that stabilizes a non-strongly stabilizable system must be itself open loop unstable, a fact that has profound implications for training with noisy, finite data. A potential solution to this problem, motivated by results on stabilization with periodic control, is the use of neural nets with periodic resets, showing that indeed systems theoretic analysis is instrumental in developing architectures capable of controlling certain classes of unstable systems. This short conference paper also argues that when the goal is to learn control oriented models, the loss function should reflect closed loop, rather than open loop model performance, a fact that can be accomplished by using gap-metric motivated loss functions.



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Last modified: Mon Nov 7 18:17:07 2022
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