Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.694011
Title: Combining reinforcement learning and optimal control for the control of nonlinear dynamical systems
Author: Abramova, Ekaterina
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 6913
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
This thesis presents a novel hierarchical learning framework, Reinforcement Learning Optimal Control, for controlling nonlinear dynamical systems with continuous states and actions. The adapted approach mimics the neural computations that allow our brain to bridge across the divide between symbolic action-selection and low-level actuation control by operating at two levels of abstraction. First, current findings demonstrate that at the level of limb coordination human behaviour is explained by linear optimal feedback control theory, where cost functions match energy and timing constraints of tasks. Second, humans learn cognitive tasks involving learning symbolic level action selection, in terms of both model-free and model-based reinforcement learning algorithms. We postulate that the ease with which humans learn complex nonlinear tasks arises from combining these two levels of abstraction. The Reinforcement Learning Optimal Control framework learns the local task dynamics from naive experience using an expectation maximization algorithm for estimation of linear dynamical systems and forms locally optimal Linear Quadratic Regulators, producing continuous low-level control. A high-level reinforcement learning agent uses these available controllers as actions and learns how to combine them in state space, while maximizing a long term reward. The optimal control costs form training signals for high-level symbolic learner. The algorithm demonstrates that a small number of locally optimal linear controllers can be combined in a smart way to solve global nonlinear control problems and forms a proof-of-principle to how the brain may bridge the divide between low-level continuous control and high-level symbolic action selection. It competes in terms of computational cost and solution quality with state-of-the-art control, which is illustrated with solutions to benchmark problems.
Supervisor: Faisal, Aldo ; Kuhn, Daniel Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.694011  DOI: Not available
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