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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 2, 2023
  2. Fukumizu, Kenji (Ed.)
    While the identification of nonlinear dynamical systems is a fundamental building block of model-based reinforcement learning and feedback control, its sample complexity is only understood for systems that either have discrete states and actions or for systems that can be identified from data generated by i.i.d. random inputs. Nonetheless, many interesting dynamical systems have continuous states and actions and can only be identified through a judicious choice of inputs. Motivated by practical settings, we study a class of nonlinear dynamical systems whose state transitions depend linearly on a known feature embedding of state-action pairs. To estimate such systems in finite time identification methods must explore all directions in feature space. We propose an active learning approach that achieves this by repeating three steps: trajectory planning, trajectory tracking, and re-estimation of the system from all available data. We show that our method estimates nonlinear dynamical systems at a parametric rate, similar to the statistical rate of standard linear regression.
  3. Modern nonlinear control theory seeks to endow systems with properties such as stability and safety, and has been deployed successfully across various domains. Despite this success, model uncertainty remains a significant challenge in ensuring that model-based controllers transfer to real world systems. This paper develops a data-driven approach to robust control synthesis in the presence of model uncertainty using Control Certificate Functions (CCFs), resulting in a convex optimization based controller for achieving properties like stability and safety. An important benefit of our framework is nuanced data-dependent guarantees, which in principle can yield sample-efficient data collection approaches that need not fully determine the input-to-state relationship. This work serves as a starting point for addressing important questions at the intersection of nonlinear control theory and non-parametric learning, both theoretical and in application. We demonstrate the efficiency of the proposed method with respect to input data in simulation with an inverted pendulum in multiple experimental settings.