10,16,2021

News Blog Paper China
Model-Based Safe Policy Search from Signal Temporal Logic Specifications Using Recurrent Neural Networks2021-03-29   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We propose a policy search approach to learn controllers from specifications given as Signal Temporal Logic (STL) formulae. The system model is unknown, and it is learned together with the control policy. The model is implemented as a feedforward neural network (FNN). To capture the history dependency of the STL specification, we use a recurrent neural network (RNN) to implement the control policy. In contrast to prevalent model-free methods, the learning approach proposed here takes advantage of the learned model and is more efficient. We use control barrier functions (CBFs) with the learned model to improve the safety of the system. We validate our algorithm via simulations. The results show that our approach can satisfy the given specification within very few system runs, and therefore it has the potential to be used for on-line control.
 
Recurrent Neural Network Controllers for Signal Temporal Logic Specifications Subject to Safety Constraints2020-09-23   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We propose a framework based on Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) to determine an optimal control strategy for a discrete-time system that is required to satisfy specifications given as Signal Temporal Logic (STL) formulae. RNNs can store information of a system over time, thus, enable us to determine satisfaction of the dynamic temporal requirements specified in STL formulae. Given a STL formula, a dataset of satisfying system executions and corresponding control policies, we can use RNNs to predict a control policy at each time based on the current and previous states of system. We use Control Barrier Functions (CBFs) to guarantee the safety of the predicted control policy. We validate our theoretical formulation and demonstrate its performance in an optimal control problem subject to partially unknown safety constraints through simulations.
 
Tractable Reinforcement Learning of Signal Temporal Logic Objectives2020-02-17   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Signal temporal logic (STL) is an expressive language to specify time-bound real-world robotic tasks and safety specifications. Recently, there has been an interest in learning optimal policies to satisfy STL specifications via reinforcement learning (RL). Learning to satisfy STL specifications often needs a sufficient length of state history to compute reward and the next action. The need for history results in exponential state-space growth for the learning problem. Thus the learning problem becomes computationally intractable for most real-world applications. In this paper, we propose a compact means to capture state history in a new augmented state-space representation. An approximation to the objective (maximizing probability of satisfaction) is proposed and solved for in the new augmented state-space. We show the performance bound of the approximate solution and compare it with the solution of an existing technique via simulations.
 
A kernel function for Signal Temporal Logic formulae2020-09-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We discuss how to define a kernel for Signal Temporal Logic (STL) formulae. Such a kernel allows us to embed the space of formulae into a Hilbert space, and opens up the use of kernel-based machine learning algorithms in the context of STL. We show an application of this idea to a regression problem in formula space for probabilistic models.
 
STL Robustness Risk over Discrete-Time Stochastic Processes2021-04-03   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We present a framework to interpret signal temporal logic (STL) formulas over discrete-time stochastic processes in terms of the induced risk. Each realization of a stochastic process either satisfies or violates an STL formula. In fact, we can assign a robustness value to each realization that indicates how robustly this realization satisfies an STL formula. We then define the risk of a stochastic process not satisfying an STL formula robustly, referred to as the "STL robustness risk". In our definition, we permit general classes of risk measures such as, but not limited to, the value-at-risk. While in general hard to compute, we propose an approximation of the STL robustness risk. This approximation has the desirable property of being an upper bound of the STL robustness risk when the chosen risk measure is monotone, a property satisfied by most risk measures. Motivated by the interest in data-driven approaches, we present a sampling-based method for calculating an upper bound of the approximate STL robustness risk for the value-at-risk that holds with high probability. While we consider the case of the value-at-risk, we highlight that such sampling-based methods are viable for other risk measures.
 
Mining Environment Assumptions for Cyber-Physical System Models2020-05-17   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Many complex cyber-physical systems can be modeled as heterogeneous components interacting with each other in real-time. We assume that the correctness of each component can be specified as a requirement satisfied by the output signals produced by the component, and that such an output guarantee is expressed in a real-time temporal logic such as Signal Temporal Logic (STL). In this paper, we hypothesize that a large subset of input signals for which the corresponding output signals satisfy the output requirement can also be compactly described using an STL formula that we call the environment assumption. We propose an algorithm to mine such an environment assumption using a supervised learning technique. Essentially, our algorithm treats the environment assumption as a classifier that labels input signals as good if the corresponding output signal satisfies the output requirement, and as bad otherwise. Our learning method simultaneously learns the structure of the STL formula as well as the values of the numeric constants appearing in the formula. To achieve this, we combine a procedure to systematically enumerate candidate Parametric STL (PSTL) formulas, with a decision-tree based approach to learn parameter values. We demonstrate experimental results on real world data from several domains including transportation and health care.
 
Analysis of E-commerce Ranking Signals via Signal Temporal Logic2021-01-13   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
The timed position of documents retrieved by learning to rank models can be seen as signals. Signals carry useful information such as drop or rise of documents over time or user behaviors. In this work, we propose to use the logic formalism called Signal Temporal Logic (STL) to characterize document behaviors in ranking accordingly to the specified formulas. Our analysis shows that interesting document behaviors can be easily formalized and detected thanks to STL formulas. We validate our idea on a dataset of 100K product signals. Through the presented framework, we uncover interesting patterns, such as cold start, warm start, spikes, and inspect how they affect our learning to ranks models.
 
Learning from Demonstrations using Signal Temporal Logic2021-02-15   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Learning-from-demonstrations is an emerging paradigm to obtain effective robot control policies for complex tasks via reinforcement learning without the need to explicitly design reward functions. However, it is susceptible to imperfections in demonstrations and also raises concerns of safety and interpretability in the learned control policies. To address these issues, we use Signal Temporal Logic to evaluate and rank the quality of demonstrations. Temporal logic-based specifications allow us to create non-Markovian rewards, and also define interesting causal dependencies between tasks such as sequential task specifications. We validate our approach through experiments on discrete-world and OpenAI Gym environments, and show that our approach outperforms the state-of-the-art Maximum Causal Entropy Inverse Reinforcement Learning.
 
Requirements-driven Test Generation for Autonomous Vehicles with Machine Learning Components2019-08-02   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Autonomous vehicles are complex systems that are challenging to test and debug. A requirements-driven approach to the development process can decrease the resources required to design and test these systems, while simultaneously increasing the reliability. We present a testing framework that uses signal temporal logic (STL), which is a precise and unambiguous requirements language. Our framework evaluates test cases against the STL formulae and additionally uses the requirements to automatically identify test cases that fail to satisfy the requirements. One of the key features of our tool is the support for machine learning (ML) components in the system design, such as deep neural networks. The framework allows evaluation of the control algorithms, including the ML components, and it also includes models of CCD camera, lidar, and radar sensors, as well as the vehicle environment. We use multiple methods to generate test cases, including covering arrays, which is an efficient method to search discrete variable spaces. The resulting test cases can be used to debug the controller design by identifying controller behaviors that do not satisfy requirements. The test cases can also enhance the testing phase of development by identifying critical corner cases that correspond to the limits of the system's allowed behaviors. We present STL requirements for an autonomous vehicle system, which capture both component-level and system-level behaviors. Additionally, we present three driving scenarios and demonstrate how our requirements-driven testing framework can be used to identify critical system behaviors, which can be used to support the development process.
 
Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning with Temporal Logic Specifications2021-01-31   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In this paper, we study the problem of learning to satisfy temporal logic specifications with a group of agents in an unknown environment, which may exhibit probabilistic behaviour. From a learning perspective these specifications provide a rich formal language with which to capture tasks or objectives, while from a logic and automated verification perspective the introduction of learning capabilities allows for practical applications in large, stochastic, unknown environments. The existing work in this area is, however, limited. Of the frameworks that consider full linear temporal logic or have correctness guarantees, all methods thus far consider only the case of a single temporal logic specification and a single agent. In order to overcome this limitation, we develop the first multi-agent reinforcement learning technique for temporal logic specifications, which is also novel in its ability to handle multiple specifications. We provide correctness and convergence guarantees for our main algorithm - ALMANAC (Automaton/Logic Multi-Agent Natural Actor-Critic) - even when using function approximation. Alongside our theoretical results, we further demonstrate the applicability of our technique via a set of preliminary experiments.
 
CityPM: Predictive Monitoring with Logic-Calibrated Uncertainty for Smart Cities2020-10-31   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We present CityPM, a novel predictive monitoring system for smart cities, that continuously generates sequential predictions of future city states using Bayesian deep learning and monitors if the generated predictions satisfy city safety and performance requirements. We formally define a flowpipe signal to characterize prediction outputs of Bayesian deep learning models, and develop a new logic, named {Signal Temporal Logic with Uncertainty} (STL-U), for reasoning about the correctness of flowpipe signals. CityPM can monitor city requirements specified in STL-U such as "with 90% confidence level, the predicated air quality index in the next 10 hours should always be below 100". We also develop novel STL-U logic-based criteria to measure uncertainty for Bayesian deep learning. CityPM uses these logic-calibrated uncertainty measurements to select and tune the uncertainty estimation schema in deep learning models. We evaluate CityPM on three large-scale smart city case studies, including two real-world city datasets and one simulated city experiment. The results show that CityPM significantly improves the simulated city's safety and performance, and the use of STL-U logic-based criteria leads to improved uncertainty calibration in various Bayesian deep learning models.
 
Stratified Transfer Learning for Cross-domain Activity Recognition2017-12-25   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In activity recognition, it is often expensive and time-consuming to acquire sufficient activity labels. To solve this problem, transfer learning leverages the labeled samples from the source domain to annotate the target domain which has few or none labels. Existing approaches typically consider learning a global domain shift while ignoring the intra-affinity between classes, which will hinder the performance of the algorithms. In this paper, we propose a novel and general cross-domain learning framework that can exploit the intra-affinity of classes to perform intra-class knowledge transfer. The proposed framework, referred to as Stratified Transfer Learning (STL), can dramatically improve the classification accuracy for cross-domain activity recognition. Specifically, STL first obtains pseudo labels for the target domain via majority voting technique. Then, it performs intra-class knowledge transfer iteratively to transform both domains into the same subspaces. Finally, the labels of target domain are obtained via the second annotation. To evaluate the performance of STL, we conduct comprehensive experiments on three large public activity recognition datasets~(i.e. OPPORTUNITY, PAMAP2, and UCI DSADS), which demonstrates that STL significantly outperforms other state-of-the-art methods w.r.t. classification accuracy (improvement of 7.68%). Furthermore, we extensively investigate the performance of STL across different degrees of similarities and activity levels between domains. And we also discuss the potential of STL in other pervasive computing applications to provide empirical experience for future research.
 
Control Barrier Functions for Unknown Nonlinear Systems using Gaussian Processes2020-10-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
This paper focuses on the controller synthesis for unknown, nonlinear systems while ensuring safety constraints. Our approach consists of two steps, a learning step that uses Gaussian processes and a controller synthesis step that is based on control barrier functions. In the learning step, we use a data-driven approach utilizing Gaussian processes to learn the unknown control affine nonlinear dynamics together with a statistical bound on the accuracy of the learned model. In the second controller synthesis steps, we develop a systematic approach to compute control barrier functions that explicitly take into consideration the uncertainty of the learned model. The control barrier function not only results in a safe controller by construction but also provides a rigorous lower bound on the probability of satisfaction of the safety specification. Finally, we illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed results by synthesizing a safety controller for a jet engine example.
 
Elaborating on Learned Demonstrations with Temporal Logic Specifications2020-05-22   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Most current methods for learning from demonstrations assume that those demonstrations alone are sufficient to learn the underlying task. This is often untrue, especially if extra safety specifications exist which were not present in the original demonstrations. In this paper, we allow an expert to elaborate on their original demonstration with additional specification information using linear temporal logic (LTL). Our system converts LTL specifications into a differentiable loss. This loss is then used to learn a dynamic movement primitive that satisfies the underlying specification, while remaining close to the original demonstration. Further, by leveraging adversarial training, our system learns to robustly satisfy the given LTL specification on unseen inputs, not just those seen in training. We show that our method is expressive enough to work across a variety of common movement specification patterns such as obstacle avoidance, patrolling, keeping steady, and speed limitation. In addition, we show that our system can modify a base demonstration with complex specifications by incrementally composing multiple simpler specifications. We also implement our system on a PR-2 robot to show how a demonstrator can start with an initial (sub-optimal) demonstration, then interactively improve task success by including additional specifications enforced with our differentiable LTL loss.
 
Statistically Model Checking PCTL Specifications on Markov Decision Processes via Reinforcement Learning2020-04-21   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Probabilistic Computation Tree Logic (PCTL) is frequently used to formally specify control objectives such as probabilistic reachability and safety. In this work, we focus on model checking PCTL specifications statistically on Markov Decision Processes (MDPs) by sampling, e.g., checking whether there exists a feasible policy such that the probability of reaching certain goal states is greater than a threshold. We use reinforcement learning to search for such a feasible policy for PCTL specifications, and then develop a statistical model checking (SMC) method with provable guarantees on its error. Specifically, we first use upper-confidence-bound (UCB) based Q-learning to design an SMC algorithm for bounded-time PCTL specifications, and then extend this algorithm to unbounded-time specifications by identifying a proper truncation time by checking the PCTL specification and its negation at the same time. Finally, we evaluate the proposed method on case studies.
 
Towards Safe Continuing Task Reinforcement Learning2021-02-24   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Safety is a critical feature of controller design for physical systems. When designing control policies, several approaches to guarantee this aspect of autonomy have been proposed, such as robust controllers or control barrier functions. However, these solutions strongly rely on the model of the system being available to the designer. As a parallel development, reinforcement learning provides model-agnostic control solutions but in general, it lacks the theoretical guarantees required for safety. Recent advances show that under mild conditions, control policies can be learned via reinforcement learning, which can be guaranteed to be safe by imposing these requirements as constraints of an optimization problem. However, to transfer from learning safety to learning safely, there are two hurdles that need to be overcome: (i) it has to be possible to learn the policy without having to re-initialize the system; and (ii) the rollouts of the system need to be in themselves safe. In this paper, we tackle the first issue, proposing an algorithm capable of operating in the continuing task setting without the need of restarts. We evaluate our approach in a numerical example, which shows the capabilities of the proposed approach in learning safe policies via safe exploration.
 
Feature Interactions on Steroids: On the Composition of ML Models2021-05-13   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
The lack of specifications is a key difference between traditional software engineering and machine learning. We discuss how it drastically impacts how we think about divide-and-conquer approaches to system design, and how it impacts reuse, testing and debugging activities. Traditionally, specifications provide a cornerstone for compositional reasoning and for the divide-and-conquer strategy of how we build large and complex systems from components, but those are hard to come by for machine-learned components. While the lack of specification seems like a fundamental new problem at first sight, in fact software engineers routinely deal with iffy specifications in practice: we face weak specifications, wrong specifications, and unanticipated interactions among components and their specifications. Machine learning may push us further, but the problems are not fundamentally new. Rethinking machine-learning model composition from the perspective of the feature interaction problem, we may even teach us a thing or two on how to move forward, including the importance of integration testing, of requirements engineering, and of design.
 
An Explicit Neural Network Construction for Piecewise Constant Function Approximation2018-08-22   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We present an explicit construction for feedforward neural network (FNN), which provides a piecewise constant approximation for multivariate functions. The proposed FNN has two hidden layers, where the weights and thresholds are explicitly defined and do not require numerical optimization for training. Unlike most of the existing work on explicit FNN construction, the proposed FNN does not rely on tensor structure in multiple dimensions. Instead, it automatically creates Voronoi tessellation of the domain, based on the given data of the target function, and piecewise constant approximation of the function. This makes the construction more practical for applications. We present both theoretical analysis and numerical examples to demonstrate its properties.
 
Metaheuristic Design of Feedforward Neural Networks: A Review of Two Decades of Research2017-05-16   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Over the past two decades, the feedforward neural network (FNN) optimization has been a key interest among the researchers and practitioners of multiple disciplines. The FNN optimization is often viewed from the various perspectives: the optimization of weights, network architecture, activation nodes, learning parameters, learning environment, etc. Researchers adopted such different viewpoints mainly to improve the FNN's generalization ability. The gradient-descent algorithm such as backpropagation has been widely applied to optimize the FNNs. Its success is evident from the FNN's application to numerous real-world problems. However, due to the limitations of the gradient-based optimization methods, the metaheuristic algorithms including the evolutionary algorithms, swarm intelligence, etc., are still being widely explored by the researchers aiming to obtain generalized FNN for a given problem. This article attempts to summarize a broad spectrum of FNN optimization methodologies including conventional and metaheuristic approaches. This article also tries to connect various research directions emerged out of the FNN optimization practices, such as evolving neural network (NN), cooperative coevolution NN, complex-valued NN, deep learning, extreme learning machine, quantum NN, etc. Additionally, it provides interesting research challenges for future research to cope-up with the present information processing era.
 
Sound source ranging using a feed-forward neural network with fitting-based early stopping2019-04-01   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
When a feed-forward neural network (FNN) is trained for source ranging in an ocean waveguide, it is difficult evaluating the range accuracy of the FNN on unlabeled test data. A fitting-based early stopping (FEAST) method is introduced to evaluate the range error of the FNN on test data where the distance of source is unknown. Based on FEAST, when the evaluated range error of the FNN reaches the minimum on test data, stopping training, which will help to improve the ranging accuracy of the FNN on the test data. The FEAST is demonstrated on simulated and experimental data.