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Zhou Lu, Nataly Brukhim, Paula Gradu, Elad Hazan

In the framework of online convex optimization, most iterative algorithms require the computation of projections onto convex sets, which can be computationally expensive. To tackle this problem HK12 proposed the study of projection-free methods that replace projections with less expensive computations. The most common approach is based on the Frank-Wolfe method, that uses linear optimization computation in lieu of projections. Recent work by GK22 gave sublinear adaptive regret guarantees with projection free algorithms based on the Frank Wolfe approach. In this work we give projection-free algorithms that are based on a different technique, inspired by Mhammedi22, that replaces projections by set-membership computations. We propose a simple lazy gradient-based algorithm with a Minkowski regularization that attains near-optimal adaptive regret bounds. For general convex loss functions we improve previous adaptive regret bounds from $O(T^{3/4})$ to $O(\sqrt{T})$, and further to tight interval dependent bound $\tilde{O}(\sqrt{I})$ where $I$ denotes the interval length. For strongly convex functions we obtain the first poly-logarithmic adaptive regret bounds using a projection-free algorithm.

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Paula Gradu, Tijana Zrnic, Yixin Wang, Michael I. Jordan

Causal graph discovery and causal effect estimation are two fundamental tasks in causal inference. While many methods have been developed for each task individually, statistical challenges arise when applying these methods jointly: estimating causal effects after running causal discovery algorithms on the same data leads to "double dipping," invalidating coverage guarantees of classical confidence intervals. To this end, we develop tools for valid post-causal-discovery inference. One key contribution is a randomized version of the greedy equivalence search (GES) algorithm, which permits a valid, finite-sample correction of classical confidence intervals. Across empirical studies, we show that a naive combination of causal discovery and subsequent inference algorithms typically leads to highly inflated miscoverage rates; at the same time, our noisy GES method provides reliable coverage control while achieving more accurate causal graph recovery than data splitting.

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Katie Kang, Paula Gradu, Jason Choi, Michael Janner, Claire Tomlin, Sergey Levine

Learned models and policies can generalize effectively when evaluated within the distribution of the training data, but can produce unpredictable and erroneous outputs on out-of-distribution inputs. In order to avoid distribution shift when deploying learning-based control algorithms, we seek a mechanism to constrain the agent to states and actions that resemble those that it was trained on. In control theory, Lyapunov stability and control-invariant sets allow us to make guarantees about controllers that stabilize the system around specific states, while in machine learning, density models allow us to estimate the training data distribution. Can we combine these two concepts, producing learning-based control algorithms that constrain the system to in-distribution states using only in-distribution actions? In this work, we propose to do this by combining concepts from Lyapunov stability and density estimation, introducing Lyapunov density models: a generalization of control Lyapunov functions and density models that provides guarantees on an agent's ability to stay in-distribution over its entire trajectory.

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Edgar Minasyan, Paula Gradu, Max Simchowitz, Elad Hazan

We study online control of time-varying linear systems with unknown dynamics in the nonstochastic control model. At a high level, we demonstrate that this setting is \emph{qualitatively harder} than that of either unknown time-invariant or known time-varying dynamics, and complement our negative results with algorithmic upper bounds in regimes where sublinear regret is possible. More specifically, we study regret bounds with respect to common classes of policies: Disturbance Action (SLS), Disturbance Response (Youla), and linear feedback policies. While these three classes are essentially equivalent for LTI systems, we demonstrate that these equivalences break down for time-varying systems. We prove a lower bound that no algorithm can obtain sublinear regret with respect to the first two classes unless a certain measure of system variability also scales sublinearly in the horizon. Furthermore, we show that offline planning over the state linear feedback policies is NP-hard, suggesting hardness of the online learning problem. On the positive side, we give an efficient algorithm that attains a sublinear regret bound against the class of Disturbance Response policies up to the aforementioned system variability term. In fact, our algorithm enjoys sublinear \emph{adaptive} regret bounds, which is a strictly stronger metric than standard regret and is more appropriate for time-varying systems. We sketch extensions to Disturbance Action policies and partial observation, and propose an inefficient algorithm for regret against linear state feedback policies.

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Daniel Suo, Cyril Zhang, Paula Gradu, Udaya Ghai, Xinyi Chen, Edgar Minasyan, Naman Agarwal, Karan Singh, Julienne LaChance, Tom Zajdel, Manuel Schottdorf, Daniel Cohen, Elad Hazan

Mechanical ventilation is one of the most widely used therapies in the ICU. However, despite broad application from anaesthesia to COVID-related life support, many injurious challenges remain. We frame these as a control problem: ventilators must let air in and out of the patient's lungs according to a prescribed trajectory of airway pressure. Industry-standard controllers, based on the PID method, are neither optimal nor robust. Our data-driven approach learns to control an invasive ventilator by training on a simulator itself trained on data collected from the ventilator. This method outperforms popular reinforcement learning algorithms and even controls the physical ventilator more accurately and robustly than PID. These results underscore how effective data-driven methodologies can be for invasive ventilation and suggest that more general forms of ventilation (e.g., non-invasive, adaptive) may also be amenable.

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Daniel Suo, Cyril Zhang, Paula Gradu, Udaya Ghai, Xinyi Chen, Edgar Minasyan, Naman Agarwal, Karan Singh, Julienne LaChance, Tom Zajdel, Manuel Schottdorf, Daniel Cohen, Elad Hazan

We consider the problem of controlling an invasive mechanical ventilator for pressure-controlled ventilation: a controller must let air in and out of a sedated patient's lungs according to a trajectory of airway pressures specified by a clinician. Hand-tuned PID controllers and similar variants have comprised the industry standard for decades, yet can behave poorly by over- or under-shooting their target or oscillating rapidly. We consider a data-driven machine learning approach: First, we train a simulator based on data we collect from an artificial lung. Then, we train deep neural network controllers on these simulators.We show that our controllers are able to track target pressure waveforms significantly better than PID controllers. We further show that a learned controller generalizes across lungs with varying characteristics much more readily than PID controllers do.

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Paula Gradu, John Hallman, Daniel Suo, Alex Yu, Naman Agarwal, Udaya Ghai, Karan Singh, Cyril Zhang, Anirudha Majumdar, Elad Hazan

We present an open-source library of natively differentiable physics and robotics environments, accompanied by gradient-based control methods and a benchmark-ing suite. The introduced environments allow auto-differentiation through the simulation dynamics, and thereby permit fast training of controllers. The library features several popular environments, including classical control settings from OpenAI Gym. We also provide a novel differentiable environment, based on deep neural networks, that simulates medical ventilation. We give several use-cases of new scientific results obtained using the library. This includes a medical ventilator simulator and controller, an adaptive control method for time-varying linear dynamical systems, and new gradient-based methods for control of linear dynamical systems with adversarial perturbations.

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