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  1. In reinforcement learning for safety-critical settings, it is often desirable for the agent to obey safety constraints at all points in time, including during training. We present a novel neurosymbolic approach called SPICE to solve this safe exploration problem. SPICE uses an online shielding layer based on symbolic weakest preconditions to achieve a more precise safety analysis than existing tools without unduly impacting the training process. We evaluate the approach on a suite of continuous control benchmarks and show that it can achieve comparable performance to existing safe learning techniques while incurring fewer safety violations. Additionally, we present theoretical results showing that SPICE converges to the optimal safe policy under reasonable assumptions.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 23, 2023
  3. We propose a new algorithm to simplify the controller development for distributed robotic systems subject to external observations, disturbances, and communication delays. Unlike prior approaches that propose specialized solutions to handling communication latency for specific robotic applications, our algorithm uses an arbitrary centralized controller as the specification and automatically generates distributed controllers with communication management and delay compensation. We formulate our goal as nonlinear optimal control— using a regret minimizing objective that measures how much the distributed agents behave differently from the delay-free centralized response—and solve for optimal actions w.r.t. local estimations of this objective using gradient-based optimization. We analyze our proposed algorithm’s behavior under a linear time-invariant special case and prove that the closed-loop dynamics satisfy a form of input-to-state stability w.r.t. unexpected disturbances and observations. Our experimental results on both simulated and real-world robotic tasks demonstrate the practical usefulness of our approach and show significant improvement over several baseline approaches.
  4. Recent systems for converting natural language descriptions into regular expressions (regexes) have achieved some success, but typically deal with short, formulaic text and can only produce simple regexes. Real-world regexes are complex, hard to describe with brief sentences, and sometimes require examples to fully convey the user’s intent. We present a framework for regex synthesis in this setting where both natural language (NL) and examples are available. First, a semantic parser (either grammar-based or neural) maps the natural language description into an intermediate sketch, which is an incomplete regex containing holes to denote missing components. Then a program synthesizer searches over the regex space defined by the sketch and finds a regex that is consistent with the given string examples. Our semantic parser can be trained purely from weak supervision based on correctness of the synthesized regex, or it can leverage heuristically derived sketches. We evaluate on two prior datasets (Kushman and Barzilay 2013 ; Locascio et al. 2016 ) and a real-world dataset from Stack Overflow. Our system achieves state-of-the-art performance on the prior datasets and solves 57% of the real-world dataset, which existing neural systems completely fail on. 1