Gradient-Descent for Randomized Controllers under Partial Observability

14 Jan 2022
Linus Heck, Jip Spel, Sebastian Junges, Joshua Moerman and Joost-Pieter Katoen
VMCAI 2022


Randomization is a powerful technique to create robust controllers, in particular in partially observable settings. The degrees of randomization have a significant impact on the system performance, yet they are intricate to get right. The use of synthesis algorithms for parametric Markov chains (pMCs) is a promising direction to support the design process of such controllers. This paper shows how to define and evaluate gradients of pMCs. Furthermore, it investigates varieties of gradient descent techniques from the machine learning community to synthesize the probabilities in a pMC. The resulting method scales to significantly larger pMCs than before and empirically outperforms the state-of-the-art, often by at least one order of magnitude.

doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-94583-1_7