Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)
Jack Umenberger, Mina Ferizbegovic, Thomas B. Schön, Håkan Hjalmarsson
Learning to make decisions in an uncertain and dynamic environment is a task of fundamental performance in a number of domains. This paper concerns the problem of learning control policies for an unknown linear dynamical system so as to minimize a quadratic cost function. We present a method, based on convex optimization, that accomplishes this task ‘robustly’, i.e., the worst-case cost, accounting for system uncertainty given the observed data, is minimized. The method balances exploitation and exploration, exciting the system in such a way so as to reduce uncertainty in the model parameters to which the worst-case cost is most sensitive. Numerical simulations and application to a hardware-in-the-loop servo-mechanism are used to demonstrate the approach, with appreciable performance and robustness gains over alternative methods observed in both.