[edit]

# A Piecewise Learning Framework for Control of Unknown Nonlinear Systems with Stability Guarantees

*Proceedings of The 4th Annual Learning for Dynamics and Control Conference*, PMLR 168:830-843, 2022.

#### Abstract

We propose a piecewise learning framework for controlling nonlinear systems with unknown dynamics. While model-based reinforcement learning techniques in terms of some basis functions are well known in the literature, when it comes to more complex dynamics, only a local approximation of the model can be obtained using a limited number of bases. The complexity of the identifier and the controller can be considerably high if obtaining an approximation over a larger domain is desired. To overcome this limitation, we propose a general piecewise nonlinear framework where each piece is responsible for locally learning and controlling over some region of the domain. We obtain rigorous uncertainty bounds for the learned piecewise models. The piecewise affine (PWA) model is then studied as a special case, for which we propose an optimization-based verification technique for stability analysis of the closed-loop system. Accordingly, given a time-discretization of the learned PWA system, we iteratively search for a common piecewise Lyapunov function in a set of positive definite functions, where a non-monotonic convergence is allowed. This Lyapunov candidate is verified on the uncertain system to either provide a certificate for stability or find a counter-example when it fails. This counter-example is added to a set of samples to facilitate the further learning of a Lyapunov function. We demonstrate the results on two examples and show that the proposed approach yields a less conservative region of attraction (ROA) compared with alternative state-of-the-art approaches. Moreover, we provide the runtime results to demonstrate potentials of the proposed framework in real-world implementations.