Best of Both Worlds in Online Control: Competitive Ratio and Policy Regret
Proceedings of The 5th Annual Learning for Dynamics and Control Conference, PMLR 211:1345-1356, 2023.
We consider the fundamental problem of online control of a linear dynamical system from two different viewpoints: regret minimization and competitive analysis. We prove that the optimal competitive policy is well-approximated by a convex parameterized policy class, known as a disturbance-action control (DAC) policies. Using this structural result, we show that several recently proposed online control algorithms achieve the best of both worlds: sublinear regret vs. the best DAC policy selected in hindsight, and optimal competitive ratio, up to an additive correction which grows sublinearly in the time horizon. We further conclude that sublinear regret vs. the optimal competitive policy is attainable when the linear dynamical system is unknown, and even when a stabilizing controller for the dynamics is not available a priori.