Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Conservative decision-making and inference in uncertain dynamical systems
Author: Calliess, Jan-Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 2841
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
The demand for automated decision making, learning and inference in uncertain, risk sensitive and dynamically changing situations presents a challenge: to design computational approaches that promise to be widely deployable and flexible to adapt on the one hand, while offering reliable guarantees on safety on the other. The tension between these desiderata has created a gap that, in spite of intensive research and contributions made from a wide range of communities, remains to be filled. This represents an intriguing challenge that provided motivation for much of the work presented in this thesis. With these desiderata in mind, this thesis makes a number of contributions towards the development of algorithms for automated decision-making and inference under uncertainty. To facilitate inference over unobserved effects of actions, we develop machine learning approaches that are suitable for the construction of models over dynamical laws that provide uncertainty bounds around their predictions. As an example application for conservative decision-making, we apply our learning and inference methods to control in uncertain dynamical systems. Owing to the uncertainty bounds, we can derive performance guarantees of the resulting learning-based controllers. Furthermore, our simulations demonstrate that the resulting decision-making algorithms are effective in learning and controlling under uncertain dynamics and can outperform alternative methods. Another set of contributions is made in multi-agent decision-making which we cast in the general framework of optimisation with interaction constraints. The constraints necessitate coordination, for which we develop several methods. As a particularly challenging application domain, our exposition focusses on collision avoidance. Here we consider coordination both in discrete-time and continuous-time dynamical systems. In the continuous-time case, inference is required to ensure that decisions are made that avoid collisions with adjustably high certainty even when computation is inevitably finite. In both discrete-time and finite-time settings, we introduce conservative decision-making. That is, even with finite computation, a coordination outcome is guaranteed to satisfy collision-avoidance constraints with adjustably high confidence relative to the current uncertain model. Our methods are illustrated in simulations in the context of collision avoidance in graphs, multi-commodity flow problems, distributed stochastic model-predictive control, as well as in collision-prediction and avoidance in stochastic differential systems. Finally, we provide an example of how to combine some of our different methods into a multi-agent predictive controller that coordinates learning agents with uncertain beliefs over their dynamics. Utilising the guarantees established for our learning algorithms, the resulting mechanism can provide collision avoidance guarantees relative to the a posteriori epistemic beliefs over the agents' dynamics.
Supervisor: Roberts, Stephen; Osborne, Michael Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Information engineering ; Control engineering ; Robotics ; Difference and functional equations ; Dynamical systems and ergodic theory (mathematics) ; Scalable systems ; Applications and algorithms ; Decision science ; Vehicle guidance (information eng) ; Operations research,mathematical programming ; Artificial Intelligence; Machine Learning; Control; Multiagent Systems; Optimisation; Collision Avoidance; Dynamical Systems; System Identification