Neural Hybrid Automata: Learning Dynamics With Multiple Modes and Stochastic Transitions

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Michael Poli, Stefano Massaroli, Luca Scimeca, Sanghyuk Chun, Seong Joon Oh, Atsushi Yamashita, Hajime Asama, Jinkyoo Park, Animesh Garg


Effective control and prediction of dynamical systems require appropriate handling of continuous-time and discrete, event-triggered processes. Stochastic hybrid systems (SHSs), common across engineering domains, provide a formalism for dynamical systems subject to discrete, possibly stochastic, state jumps and multi-modal continuous-time flows. Despite the versatility and importance of SHSs across applications, a general procedure for the explicit learning of both discrete events and multi-mode continuous dynamics remains an open problem. This work introduces Neural Hybrid Automata (NHAs), a recipe for learning SHS dynamics without a priori knowledge on the number, mode parameters, and inter-modal transition dynamics. NHAs provide a systematic inference method based on normalizing flows, neural differential equations, and self-supervision. We showcase NHAs on several tasks, including mode recovery and flow learning in systems with stochastic transitions, and end-to-end learning of hierarchical robot controllers.