Reinforcement Learning (RL) has proven a stunning ability to learn optimal policies from data without any prior knowledge on the process. The main drawback of RL is that it is typically very difficult to guarantee stability and safety. On the other hand, Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC) is an advanced model-based control technique which does guarantee safety and stability, but only yields optimality for the nominal model. Therefore, it has been recently proposed to use NMPC as a function approximator within RL. While the ability of this approach to yield good performance has been demonstrated, the main drawback hindering its applicability is related to the computational burden of NMPC, which has to be solved to full convergence. In practice, however, computationally efficient algorithms such as the Real-Time Iteration (RTI) scheme are deployed in order to return an approximate NMPC solution in very short time. In this paper we bridge this gap by extending the existing theoretical framework to also cover RL based on RTI NMPC. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this new RL approach with a nontrivial example modeling a challenging nonlinear system subject to stochastic perturbations with the objective of optimizing an economic cost.

Reinforcement learning based on real-time iteration NMPC

Zanon M.
;
2020

Abstract

Reinforcement Learning (RL) has proven a stunning ability to learn optimal policies from data without any prior knowledge on the process. The main drawback of RL is that it is typically very difficult to guarantee stability and safety. On the other hand, Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC) is an advanced model-based control technique which does guarantee safety and stability, but only yields optimality for the nominal model. Therefore, it has been recently proposed to use NMPC as a function approximator within RL. While the ability of this approach to yield good performance has been demonstrated, the main drawback hindering its applicability is related to the computational burden of NMPC, which has to be solved to full convergence. In practice, however, computationally efficient algorithms such as the Real-Time Iteration (RTI) scheme are deployed in order to return an approximate NMPC solution in very short time. In this paper we bridge this gap by extending the existing theoretical framework to also cover RL based on RTI NMPC. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this new RL approach with a nontrivial example modeling a challenging nonlinear system subject to stochastic perturbations with the objective of optimizing an economic cost.
Model predictive control
Reinforcement learning
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11771/18949
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