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COLLOQUIUM: Guanya Shi, "Safety-Critical Learning and Control in Dynamic Environments: Towards Unified Theory and Learned Robotic Agility"

Event Type
Illinois Computer Science
Nov 8, 2021   3:30 pm  
Originating Calendar
Computer Science Colloquium Series

Link to Talk Video:

Abstract: Recent breathtaking advances in machine learning beckon to their applications in a wide range of real-world autonomous systems. However, for safety-critical settings such as agile robotic control in hazardous environments, we must confront several key challenges before widespread deployment. Most importantly, the learning system must interact with the rest of the autonomous system (e.g., highly nonlinear and non-stationary dynamics) in a way that safeguards against catastrophic failures with formal guarantees. In addition, from both computational and statistical standpoints, the learning system must incorporate control-theoretic knowledge for efficiency and generalizability. 

In this talk, I will present progress towards establishing a unified framework that fundamentally connects learning and control. First, I motivate the benefit and necessity of such a unified framework by the Neural-Control Family, a family of nonlinear deep-learning-based control methods with not only stability and robustness guarantees but also new capabilities in agile robotic control. Then I will discuss several interfaces between learning and control in the unified framework: (1) the intersection of meta-learning and adaptive control; (2) the connection between online optimization and competitive control; (3) safe exploration in dynamical systems; and (4) understanding Model Predictive Control (MPC) from learning perspectives.


Bio: Guanya Shi is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. He received a B.E. in mechanical engineering with a dual degree in economics from Tsinghua University in 2017. He was a deep learning research intern at NVIDIA in 2020. His research interests are centered around the intersection of machine learning and control theory, spanning the entire spectrum from theory and foundation, algorithm design, to agile robot control. Guanya was the recipient of several awards, including the Simoudis Discovery Prize from Caltech and the Rising Star in Data Science from the University of Chicago.

link for robots only