Get our free extension to see links to code for papers anywhere online!Free add-on: code for papers everywhere!Free add-on: See code for papers anywhere!

Abstract:In this survey, we design formal verification and control algorithms for autonomous systems with practical safety guarantees using conformal prediction (CP), a statistical tool for uncertainty quantification. We focus on learning-enabled autonomous systems (LEASs) in which the complexity of learning-enabled components (LECs) is a major bottleneck that hampers the use of existing model-based verification and design techniques. Instead, we advocate for the use of CP, and we will demonstrate its use in formal verification, systems and control theory, and robotics. We argue that CP is specifically useful due to its simplicity (easy to understand, use, and modify), generality (requires no assumptions on learned models and data distributions, i.e., is distribution-free), and efficiency (real-time capable and accurate). We pursue the following goals with this survey. First, we provide an accessible introduction to CP for non-experts who are interested in using CP to solve problems in autonomy. Second, we show how to use CP for the verification of LECs, e.g., for verifying input-output properties of neural networks. Third and fourth, we review recent articles that use CP for safe control design as well as offline and online verification of LEASs. We summarize their ideas in a unifying framework that can deal with the complexity of LEASs in a computationally efficient manner. In our exposition, we consider simple system specifications, e.g., robot navigation tasks, as well as complex specifications formulated in temporal logic formalisms. Throughout our survey, we compare to other statistical techniques (e.g., scenario optimization, PAC-Bayes theory, etc.) and how these techniques have been used in verification and control. Lastly, we point the reader to open problems and future research directions.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:Reachability analysis is a popular method to give safety guarantees for stochastic cyber-physical systems (SCPSs) that takes in a symbolic description of the system dynamics and uses set-propagation methods to compute an overapproximation of the set of reachable states over a bounded time horizon. In this paper, we investigate the problem of performing reachability analysis for an SCPS that does not have a symbolic description of the dynamics, but instead is described using a digital twin model that can be simulated to generate system trajectories. An important challenge is that the simulator implicitly models a probability distribution over the set of trajectories of the SCPS; however, it is typical to have a sim2real gap, i.e., the actual distribution of the trajectories in a deployment setting may be shifted from the distribution assumed by the simulator. We thus propose a statistical reachability analysis technique that, given a user-provided threshold $1-\epsilon$, provides a set that guarantees that any reachable state during deployment lies in this set with probability not smaller than this threshold. Our method is based on three main steps: (1) learning a deterministic surrogate model from sampled trajectories, (2) conducting reachability analysis over the surrogate model, and (3) employing {\em robust conformal inference} using an additional set of sampled trajectories to quantify the surrogate model's distribution shift with respect to the deployed SCPS. To counter conservatism in reachable sets, we propose a novel method to train surrogate models that minimizes a quantile loss term (instead of the usual mean squared loss), and a new method that provides tighter guarantees using conformal inference using a normalized surrogate error. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our technique on various case studies.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:Motivated by the advances in conformal prediction (CP), we propose conformal predictive programming (CPP), an approach to solve chance constrained optimization (CCO) problems, i.e., optimization problems with nonlinear constraint functions affected by arbitrary random parameters. CPP utilizes samples from these random parameters along with the quantile lemma -- which is central to CP -- to transform the CCO problem into a deterministic optimization problem. We then present two tractable reformulations of CPP by: (1) writing the quantile as a linear program along with its KKT conditions (CPP-KKT), and (2) using mixed integer programming (CPP-MIP). CPP comes with marginal probabilistic feasibility guarantees for the CCO problem that are conceptually different from existing approaches, e.g., the sample approximation and the scenario approach. While we explore algorithmic similarities with the sample approximation approach, we emphasize that the strength of CPP is that it can easily be extended to incorporate different variants of CP. To illustrate this, we present robust conformal predictive programming to deal with distribution shifts in the uncertain parameters of the CCO problem.

Via

Abstract:Cyber-physical systems (CPS) designed in simulators behave differently in the real-world. Once they are deployed in the real-world, we would hence like to predict system failures during runtime. We propose robust predictive runtime verification (RPRV) algorithms under signal temporal logic (STL) tasks for general stochastic CPS. The RPRV problem faces several challenges: (1) there may not be sufficient data of the behavior of the deployed CPS, (2) predictive models are based on a distribution over system trajectories encountered during the design phase, i.e., there may be a distribution shift during deployment. To address these challenges, we assume to know an upper bound on the statistical distance (in terms of an f-divergence) between the distributions at deployment and design time, and we utilize techniques based on robust conformal prediction. Motivated by our results in [1], we construct an accurate and an interpretable RPRV algorithm. We use a trajectory prediction model to estimate the system behavior at runtime and robust conformal prediction to obtain probabilistic guarantees by accounting for distribution shifts. We precisely quantify the relationship between calibration data, desired confidence, and permissible distribution shift. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first statistically valid algorithms under distribution shift in this setting. We empirically validate our algorithms on a Franka manipulator within the NVIDIA Isaac sim environment.

Via

Abstract:Apprenticeship learning crucially depends on effectively learning rewards, and hence control policies from user demonstrations. Of particular difficulty is the setting where the desired task consists of a number of sub-goals with temporal dependencies. The quality of inferred rewards and hence policies are typically limited by the quality of demonstrations, and poor inference of these can lead to undesirable outcomes. In this letter, we show how temporal logic specifications that describe high level task objectives, are encoded in a graph to define a temporal-based metric that reasons about behaviors of demonstrators and the learner agent to improve the quality of inferred rewards and policies. Through experiments on a diverse set of robot manipulator simulations, we show how our framework overcomes the drawbacks of prior literature by drastically improving the number of demonstrations required to learn a control policy.

Via

Abstract:We consider data-driven reachability analysis of discrete-time stochastic dynamical systems using conformal inference. We assume that we are not provided with a symbolic representation of the stochastic system, but instead have access to a dataset of $K$-step trajectories. The reachability problem is to construct a probabilistic flowpipe such that the probability that a $K$-step trajectory can violate the bounds of the flowpipe does not exceed a user-specified failure probability threshold. The key ideas in this paper are: (1) to learn a surrogate predictor model from data, (2) to perform reachability analysis using the surrogate model, and (3) to quantify the surrogate model's incurred error using conformal inference in order to give probabilistic reachability guarantees. We focus on learning-enabled control systems with complex closed-loop dynamics that are difficult to model symbolically, but where state transition pairs can be queried, e.g., using a simulator. We demonstrate the applicability of our method on examples from the domain of learning-enabled cyber-physical systems.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:Many real-world systems often involve physical components or operating environments with highly nonlinear and uncertain dynamics. A number of different control algorithms can be used to design optimal controllers for such systems, assuming a reasonably high-fidelity model of the actual system. However, the assumptions made on the stochastic dynamics of the model when designing the optimal controller may no longer be valid when the system is deployed in the real-world. The problem addressed by this paper is the following: Suppose we obtain an optimal trajectory by solving a control problem in the training environment, how do we ensure that the real-world system trajectory tracks this optimal trajectory with minimal amount of error in a deployment environment. In other words, we want to learn how we can adapt an optimal trained policy to distribution shifts in the environment. Distribution shifts are problematic in safety-critical systems, where a trained policy may lead to unsafe outcomes during deployment. We show that this problem can be cast as a nonlinear optimization problem that could be solved using heuristic method such as particle swarm optimization (PSO). However, if we instead consider a convex relaxation of this problem, we can learn policies that track the optimal trajectory with much better error performance, and faster computation times. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approach on tracking an optimal path using a Dubin's car model, and collision avoidance using both a linear and nonlinear model for adaptive cruise control.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:In this paper, we consider the problem of path finding for a set of homogeneous and autonomous agents navigating a previously unknown stochastic environment. In our problem setting, each agent attempts to maximize a given utility function while respecting safety properties. Our solution is based on ideas from evolutionary game theory, namely replicating policies that perform well and diminishing ones that do not. We do a comprehensive comparison with related multiagent planning methods, and show that our technique beats state of the art RL algorithms in minimizing path length by nearly 30% in large spaces. We show that our algorithm is computationally faster than deep RL methods by at least an order of magnitude. We also show that it scales better with an increase in the number of agents as compared to other methods, path planning methods in particular. Lastly, we empirically prove that the policies that we learn are evolutionarily stable and thus impervious to invasion by any other policy.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:We are interested in predicting failures of cyber-physical systems during their operation. Particularly, we consider stochastic systems and signal temporal logic specifications, and we want to calculate the probability that the current system trajectory violates the specification. The paper presents two predictive runtime verification algorithms that predict future system states from the current observed system trajectory. As these predictions may not be accurate, we construct prediction regions that quantify prediction uncertainty by using conformal prediction, a statistical tool for uncertainty quantification. Our first algorithm directly constructs a prediction region for the satisfaction measure of the specification so that we can predict specification violations with a desired confidence. The second algorithm constructs prediction regions for future system states first, and uses these to obtain a prediction region for the satisfaction measure. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first formal guarantees for a predictive runtime verification algorithm that applies to widely used trajectory predictors such as RNNs and LSTMs, while being computationally simple and making no assumptions on the underlying distribution. We present numerical experiments of an F-16 aircraft and a self-driving car.

Via

Authors:Navid Hashemi, Xin Qin, Jyotirmoy V. Deshmukh, Georgios Fainekos, Bardh Hoxha, Danil Prokhorov, Tomoya Yamaguchi

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:In this paper, we consider the problem of synthesizing a controller in the presence of uncertainty such that the resulting closed-loop system satisfies certain hard constraints while optimizing certain (soft) performance objectives. We assume that the hard constraints encoding safety or mission-critical task objectives are expressed using Signal Temporal Logic (STL), while performance is quantified using standard cost functions on system trajectories. In order to prioritize the satisfaction of the hard STL constraints, we utilize the framework of control barrier functions (CBFs) and algorithmically obtain CBFs for STL objectives. We assume that the controllers are modeled using neural networks (NNs) and provide an optimization algorithm to learn the optimal parameters for the NN controller that optimize the performance at a user-specified robustness margin for the safety specifications. We use the formalism of risk measures to evaluate the risk incurred by the trade-off between robustness margin of the system and its performance. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approach on well-known difficult examples for nonlinear control such as a quad-rotor and a unicycle, where the mission objectives for each system include hard timing constraints and safety objectives.

Via