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Tomáš Brázdil, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Martin Chmelik, Vojtěch Forejt, Jan Křetínský, Marta Kwiatkowska, Tobias Meggendorfer, David Parker, Mateusz Ujma

We present a general framework for applying learning algorithms and heuristical guidance to the verification of Markov decision processes (MDPs). The primary goal of our techniques is to improve performance by avoiding an exhaustive exploration of the state space, instead focussing on particularly relevant areas of the system, guided by heuristics. Our work builds on the previous results of Br{\'{a}}zdil et al., significantly extending it as well as refining several details and fixing errors. The presented framework focuses on probabilistic reachability, which is a core problem in verification, and is instantiated in two distinct scenarios. The first assumes that full knowledge of the MDP is available, in particular precise transition probabilities. It performs a heuristic-driven partial exploration of the model, yielding precise lower and upper bounds on the required probability. The second tackles the case where we may only sample the MDP without knowing the exact transition dynamics. Here, we obtain probabilistic guarantees, again in terms of both the lower and upper bounds, which provides efficient stopping criteria for the approximation. In particular, the latter is an extension of statistical model-checking (SMC) for unbounded properties in MDPs. In contrast to other related approaches, we do not restrict our attention to time-bounded (finite-horizon) or discounted properties, nor assume any particular structural properties of the MDP.

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Krishnendu Chatterjee, Ehsan Kafshdar Goharshady, Mehrdad Karrabi, Petr Novotný, Đorđe Žikelić

Markov decision processes (MDPs) provide a standard framework for sequential decision making under uncertainty. However, transition probabilities in MDPs are often estimated from data and MDPs do not take data uncertainty into account. Robust Markov decision processes (RMDPs) address this shortcoming of MDPs by assigning to each transition an uncertainty set rather than a single probability value. The goal of solving RMDPs is then to find a policy which maximizes the worst-case performance over the uncertainty sets. In this work, we consider polytopic RMDPs in which all uncertainty sets are polytopes and study the problem of solving long-run average reward polytopic RMDPs. Our focus is on computational complexity aspects and efficient algorithms. We present a novel perspective on this problem and show that it can be reduced to solving long-run average reward turn-based stochastic games with finite state and action spaces. This reduction allows us to derive several important consequences that were hitherto not known to hold for polytopic RMDPs. First, we derive new computational complexity bounds for solving long-run average reward polytopic RMDPs, showing for the first time that the threshold decision problem for them is in NP coNP and that they admit a randomized algorithm with sub-exponential expected runtime. Second, we present Robust Polytopic Policy Iteration (RPPI), a novel policy iteration algorithm for solving long-run average reward polytopic RMDPs. Our experimental evaluation shows that RPPI is much more efficient in solving long-run average reward polytopic RMDPs compared to state-of-the-art methods based on value iteration.

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Đorđe Žikelić, Mathias Lechner, Abhinav Verma, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Thomas A. Henzinger

Reinforcement learning has shown promising results in learning neural network policies for complicated control tasks. However, the lack of formal guarantees about the behavior of such policies remains an impediment to their deployment. We propose a novel method for learning a composition of neural network policies in stochastic environments, along with a formal certificate which guarantees that a specification over the policy's behavior is satisfied with the desired probability. Unlike prior work on verifiable RL, our approach leverages the compositional nature of logical specifications provided in SpectRL, to learn over graphs of probabilistic reach-avoid specifications. The formal guarantees are provided by learning neural network policies together with reach-avoid supermartingales (RASM) for the graph's sub-tasks and then composing them into a global policy. We also derive a tighter lower bound compared to previous work on the probability of reach-avoidance implied by a RASM, which is required to find a compositional policy with an acceptable probabilistic threshold for complex tasks with multiple edge policies. We implement a prototype of our approach and evaluate it on a Stochastic Nine Rooms environment.

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Mathias Lechner, Đorđe Žikelić, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Thomas A. Henzinger, Daniela Rus

We study the problem of training and certifying adversarially robust quantized neural networks (QNNs). Quantization is a technique for making neural networks more efficient by running them using low-bit integer arithmetic and is therefore commonly adopted in industry. Recent work has shown that floating-point neural networks that have been verified to be robust can become vulnerable to adversarial attacks after quantization, and certification of the quantized representation is necessary to guarantee robustness. In this work, we present quantization-aware interval bound propagation (QA-IBP), a novel method for training robust QNNs. Inspired by advances in robust learning of non-quantized networks, our training algorithm computes the gradient of an abstract representation of the actual network. Unlike existing approaches, our method can handle the discrete semantics of QNNs. Based on QA-IBP, we also develop a complete verification procedure for verifying the adversarial robustness of QNNs, which is guaranteed to terminate and produce a correct answer. Compared to existing approaches, the key advantage of our verification procedure is that it runs entirely on GPU or other accelerator devices. We demonstrate experimentally that our approach significantly outperforms existing methods and establish the new state-of-the-art for training and certifying the robustness of QNNs.

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Đorđe Žikelić, Mathias Lechner, Thomas A. Henzinger, Krishnendu Chatterjee

We study the problem of learning controllers for discrete-time non-linear stochastic dynamical systems with formal reach-avoid guarantees. This work presents the first method for providing formal reach-avoid guarantees, which combine and generalize stability and safety guarantees, with a tolerable probability threshold $p\in[0,1]$ over the infinite time horizon. Our method leverages advances in machine learning literature and it represents formal certificates as neural networks. In particular, we learn a certificate in the form of a reach-avoid supermartingale (RASM), a novel notion that we introduce in this work. Our RASMs provide reachability and avoidance guarantees by imposing constraints on what can be viewed as a stochastic extension of level sets of Lyapunov functions for deterministic systems. Our approach solves several important problems -- it can be used to learn a control policy from scratch, to verify a reach-avoid specification for a fixed control policy, or to fine-tune a pre-trained policy if it does not satisfy the reach-avoid specification. We validate our approach on $3$ stochastic non-linear reinforcement learning tasks.

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Matin Ansaripour, Mathias Lechner, Đorđe Žikelić, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Thomas A. Henzinger

We consider the problem of learning control policies in stochastic systems which guarantee that the system stabilizes within some specified stabilization region with probability $1$. Our approach is based on the novel notion of stabilizing ranking supermartingales (sRSMs) that we introduce in this work. Our sRSMs overcome the limitation of methods proposed in previous works whose applicability is restricted to systems in which the stabilizing region cannot be left once entered under any control policy. We present a learning procedure that learns a control policy together with an sRSM that formally certifies probability-$1$ stability, both learned as neural networks. Our experimental evaluation shows that our learning procedure can successfully learn provably stabilizing policies in practice.

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Đorđe Žikelić, Mathias Lechner, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Thomas A. Henzinger

In this work, we address the problem of learning provably stable neural network policies for stochastic control systems. While recent work has demonstrated the feasibility of certifying given policies using martingale theory, the problem of how to learn such policies is little explored. Here, we study the effectiveness of jointly learning a policy together with a martingale certificate that proves its stability using a single learning algorithm. We observe that the joint optimization problem becomes easily stuck in local minima when starting from a randomly initialized policy. Our results suggest that some form of pre-training of the policy is required for the joint optimization to repair and verify the policy successfully.

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Mathias Lechner, Đorđe Žikelić, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Thomas A. Henzinger

We consider the problem of formally verifying almost-sure (a.s.) asymptotic stability in discrete-time nonlinear stochastic control systems. While verifying stability in deterministic control systems is extensively studied in the literature, verifying stability in stochastic control systems is an open problem. The few existing works on this topic either consider only specialized forms of stochasticity or make restrictive assumptions on the system, rendering them inapplicable to learning algorithms with neural network policies. In this work, we present an approach for general nonlinear stochastic control problems with two novel aspects: (a) instead of classical stochastic extensions of Lyapunov functions, we use ranking supermartingales (RSMs) to certify a.s.~asymptotic stability, and (b) we present a method for learning neural network RSMs. We prove that our approach guarantees a.s.~asymptotic stability of the system and provides the first method to obtain bounds on the stabilization time, which stochastic Lyapunov functions do not. Finally, we validate our approach experimentally on a set of nonlinear stochastic reinforcement learning environments with neural network policies.

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Mathias Lechner, Đorđe Žikelić, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Thomas A. Henzinger

Bayesian neural networks (BNNs) place distributions over the weights of a neural network to model uncertainty in the data and the network's prediction. We consider the problem of verifying safety when running a Bayesian neural network policy in a feedback loop with infinite time horizon systems. Compared to the existing sampling-based approaches, which are inapplicable to the infinite time horizon setting, we train a separate deterministic neural network that serves as an infinite time horizon safety certificate. In particular, we show that the certificate network guarantees the safety of the system over a subset of the BNN weight posterior's support. Our method first computes a safe weight set and then alters the BNN's weight posterior to reject samples outside this set. Moreover, we show how to extend our approach to a safe-exploration reinforcement learning setting, in order to avoid unsafe trajectories during the training of the policy. We evaluate our approach on a series of reinforcement learning benchmarks, including non-Lyapunovian safety specifications.

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