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This content will become publicly available on June 6, 2025

Title: A Neural Network Approach for Stochastic Optimal Control
We present a neural network approach for approximating the value function of high- dimensional stochastic control problems. Our training process simultaneously updates our value function estimate and identifies the part of the state space likely to be visited by optimal trajectories. Our approach leverages insights from optimal control theory and the fundamental relation between semi-linear parabolic partial differential equations and forward-backward stochastic differential equations. To focus the sampling on relevant states during neural network training, we use the stochastic Pontryagin maximum principle (PMP) to obtain the optimal controls for the current value function estimate. By design, our approach coincides with the method of characteristics for the non-viscous Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equation arising in deterministic control problems. Our training loss consists of a weighted sum of the objective functional of the control problem and penalty terms that enforce the HJB equations along the sampled trajectories. Importantly, training is unsupervised in that it does not require solutions of the control problem. Our numerical experiments highlight our scheme’s ability to identify the relevant parts of the state space and produce meaningful value estimates. Using a two-dimensional model problem, we demonstrate the importance of the stochastic PMP to inform the sampling and compare to a finite element approach. With a nonlinear control affine quadcopter example, we illustrate that our approach can handle complicated dynamics. For a 100-dimensional benchmark problem, we demonstrate that our approach improves accuracy and time-to-solution and, via a modification, we show the wider applicability of our scheme.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1751636 2038118
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
SIAM journal on scientific computing
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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