SURF 2019: Geometry of Control-Invariant Sets

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The concept of a control-invariant set---a set X with the property that a controller can make the state x(t) of a system remain inside of X for all positive t ---is closely connected with safety and reliability of engineered systems [1]. Unfortunately, analytical expressions for control-invariant sets are not known for many important systems, and are also hard to compute numerically in high dimensions.

File:Example.jpg

Some of the most fundamental dynamical systems are linear n-order integrators. For n = 2 a closed-form expression of the maximal control-invariant set contained inside the unite hypercube is known [2. eq. (53)], but for higher orders of n only numerical approaches are available. The Figure above shows numerical approximations for n equal to 2 and n equal to 3. The objective of this project is to investigate geometrical properties of these sets via a combination of analytical and numerical techniques. In particular,

  • Search for closed-form expressions or cheap-to-evaluate algorithms that characterize control-invariant sets of for n larger than 3.
  • Investigate incremental algorithms, i.e., if the set for $n$ is known, can we characterize the set for $n+1$?
  • Stretch goal: generalize the incremental ideas to differential extensions of general systems such as the quadrotor dynamics on $SE(3)$.

Familiarity with the following topics is desirable:

  • Advanced knowledge of linear ordinary differential equations.
  • Optimization.
  • Programming in Matlab and/or Python (the figures above were created with code from https://github.com/pettni/pcis).

References

[1] Blanchini, F. (1999). Set invariance in control. Automatica, 35(11), 1747–1767. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-1098(99)00113-2

[2] Ames, A. D., Xu, X., Grizzle, J. W., & Tabuada, P. (2017). Control Barrier Function Based Quadratic Programs for Safety Critical Systems. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 62(8), 3861–3876. https://doi.org/10.1109/TAC.2016.2638961