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  1. We propose a neural network approach that yields approximate solutions for high-dimensional optimal control problems and demonstrate its effectiveness using examples from multi-agent path finding. Our approach yields controls in a feedback form, where the policy function is given by a neural network (NN). Specifically, we fuse the Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman (HJB) and Pontryagin Maximum Principle (PMP) approaches by parameterizing the value function with an NN. Our approach enables us to obtain approximately optimal controls in real-time without having to solve an optimization problem. Once the policy function is trained, generating a control at a given space-time location takes milliseconds; in contrast,more »efficient nonlinear programming methods typically perform the same task in seconds. We train the NN offline using the objective function of the control problem and penalty terms that enforce the HJB equations. Therefore, our training algorithm does not involve data generated by another algorithm. By training on a distribution of initial states, we ensure the controls' optimality on a large portion of the state-space. Our grid-free approach scales efficiently to dimensions where grids become impractical or infeasible. We apply our approach to several multi-agent collision-avoidance problems in up to 150 dimensions. Furthermore, we empirically observe that the number of parameters in our approach scales linearly with the dimension of the control problem, thereby mitigating the curse of dimensionality.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. A normalizing flow is an invertible mapping between an arbitrary probability distribution and a standard normal distribution; it can be used for density estimation and statistical inference. Computing the flow follows the change of variables formula and thus requires invertibility of the mapping and an efficient way to compute the determinant of its Jacobian. To satisfy these requirements, normalizing flows typically consist of carefully chosen components. Continuous normalizing flows (CNFs) are mappings obtained by solving a neural ordinary differential equation (ODE). The neural ODE's dynamics can be chosen almost arbitrarily while ensuring invertibility. Moreover, the log-determinant of the flow's Jacobianmore »can be obtained by integrating the trace of the dynamics' Jacobian along the flow. Our proposed OT-Flow approach tackles two critical computational challenges that limit a more widespread use of CNFs. First, OT-Flow leverages optimal transport (OT) theory to regularize the CNF and enforce straight trajectories that are easier to integrate. Second, OT-Flow features exact trace computation with time complexity equal to trace estimators used in existing CNFs. On five high-dimensional density estimation and generative modeling tasks, OT-Flow performs competitively to state-of-the-art CNFs while on average requiring one-fourth of the number of weights with an 8x speedup in training time and 24x speedup in inference.« less
  3. We propose a neural network approach for solving high-dimensional optimal control problems. In particular, we focus on multi-agent control problems with obstacle and collision avoidance. These problems immediately become high-dimensional, even for moderate phase-space dimensions per agent. Our approach fuses the Pontryagin Maximum Principle and Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman (HJB) approaches and parameterizes the value function with a neural network. Our approach yields controls in a feedback form for quick calculation and robustness to moderate disturbances to the system. We train our model using the objective function and optimality conditions of the control problem. Therefore, our training algorithm neither involves a data generationmore »phase nor solutions from another algorithm. Our model uses empirically effective HJB penalizers for efficient training. By training on a distribution of initial states, we ensure the controls' optimality is achieved on a large portion of the state-space. Our approach is grid-free and scales efficiently to dimensions where grids become impractical or infeasible. We demonstrate our approach's effectiveness on a 150-dimensional multi-agent problem with obstacles.« less