A Constraint Generation Approach to Learning Stable Linear Dynamical Systems

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 20 (NIPS 2007)

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Byron Boots, Geoffrey J. Gordon, Sajid Siddiqi


Stability is a desirable characteristic for linear dynamical systems, but it is often ignored by algorithms that learn these systems from data. We propose a novel method for learning stable linear dynamical systems: we formulate an approxima- tion of the problem as a convex program, start with a solution to a relaxed version of the program, and incrementally add constraints to improve stability. Rather than continuing to generate constraints until we reach a feasible solution, we test stability at each step; because the convex program is only an approximation of the desired problem, this early stopping rule can yield a higher-quality solution. We apply our algorithm to the task of learning dynamic textures from image sequences as well as to modeling biosurveillance drug-sales data. The constraint generation approach leads to noticeable improvement in the quality of simulated sequences. We compare our method to those of Lacy and Bernstein [1, 2], with positive results in terms of accuracy, quality of simulated sequences, and ef´Čüciency.