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  1. Abstract

    Successful modeling of degradation data is of great importance for both accurate reliability assessment and effective maintenance decision‐making. Many of existing degradation performance modeling approaches either assume a homogeneous population of units or characterize a heterogeneous population with some restrictive assumptions, such as pre‐specifying the number of sub‐populations. This paper proposes a Bayesian heterogeneous degradation performance modeling framework to relax the conventional modeling assumptions. Specifically, a Bayesian non‐parametric model formulation and learning algorithm are proposed to characterize the historical degradation data of a heterogeneous population of units with an unknown number of homogeneous sub‐populations and allowing the joint model estimation and sub‐population number identification. Based on the off‐line population‐level model, an on‐line individual‐level degradation model with sequential model updating is further developed to improve remaining useful life prediction of individual units with sparse data. A real case study using the heterogeneous degradation data of deteriorating roads is provided to illustrate the proposed approach and demonstrate its validity.

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  2. This work proposes a new computational framework for learning a structured generative model for real-world datasets. In particular, we propose to learn a Closed-loop Transcriptionbetween a multi-class, multi-dimensional data distribution and a Linear discriminative representation (CTRL) in the feature space that consists of multiple independent multi-dimensional linear subspaces. In particular, we argue that the optimal encoding and decoding mappings sought can be formulated as a two-player minimax game between the encoder and decoderfor the learned representation. A natural utility function for this game is the so-called rate reduction, a simple information-theoretic measure for distances between mixtures of subspace-like Gaussians in the feature space. Our formulation draws inspiration from closed-loop error feedback from control systems and avoids expensive evaluating and minimizing of approximated distances between arbitrary distributions in either the data space or the feature space. To a large extent, this new formulation unifies the concepts and benefits of Auto-Encoding and GAN and naturally extends them to the settings of learning a both discriminative and generative representation for multi-class and multi-dimensional real-world data. Our extensive experiments on many benchmark imagery datasets demonstrate tremendous potential of this new closed-loop formulation: under fair comparison, visual quality of the learned decoder and classification performance of the encoder is competitive and arguably better than existing methods based on GAN, VAE, or a combination of both. Unlike existing generative models, the so-learned features of the multiple classes are structured instead of hidden: different classes are explicitly mapped onto corresponding independent principal subspaces in the feature space, and diverse visual attributes within each class are modeled by the independent principal components within each subspace. 
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  3. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology is a rapidly growing field with tremendous opportunities for research and applications. To achieve true autonomy for UAVs in the absence of remote control, external navigation aids like global navigation satellite systems and radar systems, a minimum energy trajectory planning that considers obstacle avoidance and stability control will be the key. Although this can be formulated as a constrained optimization problem, due to the complicated non-linear relationships between UAV trajectory and thrust control, it is almost impossible to be solved analytically. While deep reinforcement learning is known for its ability to provide model free optimization for complex system through learning, its state space, actions and reward functions must be designed carefully. This paper presents our vision of different layers of autonomy in a UAV system, and our effort in generating and tracking the trajectory both using deep reinforcement learning (DRL). The experimental results show that compared to conventional approaches, the learned trajectory will need 20% less control thrust and 18% less time to reach the target. Furthermore, using the control policy learning by DRL, the UAV will achieve 58.14% less position error and 21.77% less system power. 
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