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In this paper we discuss a resilient, risk-aware software architecture for onboard, real-time autonomous operations that is intended to robustly handle uncertainty in space- craft behavior within hazardous and unconstrained environ- ments, without unnecessarily increasing complexity. This architecture, the Resilient Spacecraft Executive (RSE), serves three main functions: (1) adapting to component failures to allow graceful degradation, (2) accommodating environments, science observations, and spacecraft capabilities that are not fully known in advance, and (3) making risk-aware decisions without waiting for slow ground-based reactions. This RSE is made up of four main parts: deliberative, habitual, and reflexive layers, and a state estimator that interfaces with all three. We use a risk-aware goal-directed executive within the deliberative layer to perform risk-informed planning, to satisfy the mission goals (specified by mission control) within the specified priorities and constraints. Other state-of-the-art algorithms to be integrated into the RSE include correct-by-construction control synthesis and model-based estimation and diagnosis. We demonstrate the feasibility of the architecture in a simple implementation of the RSE for a simulated Mars rover scenario.  +
Safety guarantees are built into a robust MPC (Model Predictive Control) algorithm for uncertain nonlinear systems. The algorithm is designed to obey all state and control constraints and blend two operational modes: (I) standard mode guarantees resolvability and asymptotic convergence to the origin in a robust receding-horizon manner; (II) safety mode, if activated, guarantees containment within an invariant set about a safety reference for all time. This research is motivated by physical vehicle control-algorithm design (e.g. spacecraft and hovercraft) in which operation mode changes must be considered. Incorporating safety mode provides robustness to unexpected state-constraint changes; e.g., other vehicles crossing/stopping in the feasible path, or unexpected ground proximity in landing scenarios. The safety-mode control is provided by an offline designed control policy that can be activated at any arbitrary time during standard mode. The standard-mode control consists of separate feedforward and feedback components; feedforward comes from online solution of a FHC (Finite-Horizon optimal Control problem), while feedback is designed offline to generate an invariant tube about the feedforward tra jectory. The tube provides robustness (to uncertainties and disturbances in the dynamics) and guarantees FHC resolvability. The algorithm design is demonstrated for a class of systems with uncertain nonlinear terms that have norm-bounded Jacobians.  +
It has been shown that optimal controller synthesis for positive systems can be formulated as a linear program. Leveraging these results, we propose a scalable iterative algo- rithm for the systematic design of sparse, small gain feedback strategies that stabilize the evolutionary dynamics of a generic disease model. We achieve the desired feedback structure by augmenting the optimization problems with `1 and `2 regular- ization terms, and illustrate our method on an example inspired by an experimental study aimed at finding appropriate HIV neutralizing antibody therapy combinations in the presence of escape mutants.  +
This paper proposes a set-based parameter identi- fication method for biochemical systems. The developed method identifies not a single parameter but a set of parameters that all explains time-series experimental data, enabling the systematic characterization of the uncertainty of identified parameters. Our key idea is to use a state-space realization that has the same input-output behavior as experimental data instead of the experimental data itself for the identification. This allows us to relax the originally nonlinear identification problem to an LMI feasibility problem validating the norm bound of an error system. We show that regions of parameters can be efficiently classified into consistent and inconsistent parameter sets by combining the LMI feasibility problems and a generalized bisection algorithm.  +
We study the synthesis problem of an LQR controller when the matrix describing the control law is constrained to lie in a particular vector space. Our motivation is the use of such control laws to stabilize networks of autonomous agents in a decentralized fashion; with the information flow being dictated by the constraints of a pre-specified topology. In this paper, we consider the finite-horizon version of the problem and provide both a computationally intensive optimal solution and a sub-optimal solution that is computationally more tractable. Then we apply the technique to the decentralized vehicle formation control problem and show that the loss in performance due to the use of the sub-optimal solution is not huge; however the topology can have a large effect on performance.  +
This paper considers the fundamental design and modeling of the Caltech ducted fan. The Caltech ducted fan is a scaled model of the longitudinal axis of a flight vehicle. The purpose of the ducted fan is the research and development of new nonlinear flight guidance and control techniques for Uninhabited Combat Aerial Vehicles. It is shown that critical design relations must be satisfied in order that the ducted fan's longitudinal dynamics behave similar to those of an flight vehicle. Preliminary flight test results illustrate the flying qualities of the ducted fan.  +
We consider the problem of attitude stabilization using exclusively visual sensory input, and we look for a solution which can satisfy the constraints of a ``bio-plausible'' computation. We obtain a PD controller which is a bilinear form of the goal image, and the current and delayed visual input. Moreover, this controller can be learned using classic neural networks algorithms. The structure of the resulting computation, derived from general principles by imposing a bilinear computation, has striking resemblances with existing models for visual information processing in insects (Reichardt Correlators and lobula plate tangential cells). We validate the algorithms using faithful simulations of the fruit fly visual input.  +
We consider the problem of purely visual pose stabilization (also known as servoing) of a second-order rigid- body system with six degrees of freedom: how to choose forces and torques, based on the current view and a memorized goal image, to steer the pose towards a desired one. Emphasis has been given to the bio-plausibility of the computation, in the sense that the control laws could be in principle implemented on the neural substrate of simple insects. We show that stabilizing laws can be realized by bilinear/quadratic operations on the visual input. This particular computational structure has several numerically favorable characteristics (sparse, local, and parallel), and thus permits an efficient engineering implementation. We show results of the control law tested on an indoor helicopter platform.  +
We consider the problem of purely visual pose stabilization of a second-order rigid-body system: how to choose forces and torques, based on the visual input alone, such that the view converges to a memorized goal image. Emphasis has been given to the bio-plausibility of the computation, in the sense that the control laws could be in principle implemented on the neural substrate of simple insects. We show that stabilizing laws can be realized by bilinear/quadratic operations on the visual input. Moreover, the control laws can be ``bootstrapped'' (learned unsupervisedly) from experience, which further substantiate the bio-plausibility of such computation.  +
Much of the progress in developing our ability to successfully design genetic circuits with predictable dynamics has followed the strategy of molding biological systems to fit into conceptual frameworks used in other disciplines, most notably the engineering sciences. Because biological systems have fundamental differences from systems in these other disciplines, this approach is challenging and the insights obtained from such analyses are often not framed in a biologically-intuitive way. Here, we present a new theoretical framework for analyzing the dynamics of genetic circuits that is tailored towards the unique properties associated with biological systems and experiments. Our framework approximates a complex circuit as a set of simpler circuits, which the system can transition between by saturating its various internal components. These approximations are connected to the intrinsic structure of the system, so this representation allows the analysis of dynamics which emerge solely from the system’s structure. Using our framework, we analyze the presence of structural bistability in a leaky autoactivation motif and the presence of structural oscillations in the Repressilator.  +
The bootstrapping problem consists in designing agents that laern a model of themsleves and the world, and utilize it to achieve useful tasks. It is different from other learning problems as the agent starts with uninterpreted observaions and commands, and with minimal prior information about the world. In this paper, we give a mathematical formalizatoin of this aspect of the problem. We argue that the vague constraint of having âno prior informationâ can be recast as a precise algebraic condition on the agent: that its behavior is invariant to particular classes of nuisances on the world, which we show can be well represented by actions of groups (diffeomorphisms, permutatations, linear transformations) on observations and commands. We then introduce the class of bilinear gradient dynamics sensors (DGDS) as a candidate for learning generic rootic sensorimotor cascades. We show how framing the problem as rejections of group nuisances allows a compact and modular analysis of typical preprocessing stages, such as learning the toplogy of sensors. We demonstrate learning and using such models on real-world range-finder and camera data from publicly available datasets.  +
In this paper we are concerned with the challenge of flight control of computationally-constrained micro-aerial vehicles that must rely primarily on vision to navigate confined spaces. We turn to insects for inspiration. We demonstrate that it is possible to control a robot with inertial, flight-like dynamics in the plane using insect-inspired visual autocorrelators or âelementary motion detectorsâ (EMDs) to detect patterns of visual optic flow. The controller, which requires minimal computation, receives visual information from a small omnidirectional array of visual sensors and computes thrust outputs for a fan pair to stabilize motion along the centerline of a corridor. To design the controller, we provide a frequency- domain analysis of the response of an array of correlators to a flat moving wall. The model incorporates the effects of motion parallax and perspective and provides a means for computing appropriate inter-sensor angular spacing and visual blurring. The controller estimates the state of robot motion by decomposing the correlator response into harmonics, an analogous operation to that performed by tangential cells in the fly. This work constitutes the first-known demonstration of control of non-kinematic inertial dynamics using purely correlators.  +
To contribute to efforts of bringing formal design-by-contract methods to hybrid systems, we introduce a variant of modal interface contract theory based on input/output automata with guarded transitions. We present an algebra of operators for interface composition, contract composition, contract conjunction, contract refinement and some theorems demonstrating that our contract object has reasonably universal semantics. As an application, we apply our framework to the design of a networked control systems of traffic.  +
Engineered bacterial sensors have potential applications in human health monitoring, environmental chemical detection, and materials biosynthesis. While such bacterial devices have long been engineered to differentiate between combinations of inputs, their potential to process signal timing and duration has been overlooked. In this work, we present a two-input temporal logic gate that can sense and record the order of the inputs, the timing between inputs, and the duration of input pulses. Our temporal logic gate design relies on unidirectional DNA recombination mediated by bacteriophage integrases to detect and encode sequences of input events. For an E. coli strain engineered to contain our temporal logic gate, we compare predictions of Markov model simulations with laboratory measurements of final population distributions for both step and pulse inputs. Although single cells were engineered to have digital outputs, stochastic noise created heterogeneous single-cell responses that translated into analog population responses. Furthermore, when single-cell genetic states were aggregated into population-level distributions, these distributions contained unique information not encoded in individual cells. Thus, final differentiated sub-populations could be used to deduce order, timing, and duration of transient chemical events.  +
A reactive safety mode is built into a robust model predictive control algorithm for uncertain nonlinear systems with bounded disturbances. The algorithm enforces state and control constraints and blends two modes: (I) standard, guarantees re-solvability and asymptotic convergence in a robust receding-horizon manner; (II) safety, if activated, guarantees containment within an invariant set about a reference. The reactive safety mode provides robustness to unexpected, but real-time anticipated, state-constraint changes during standard mode operation. The safety-mode control policy is designed offline and can be activated at any arbitrary time. The standard-mode control has feedforward and feedback components: feedforward is from online solution of a finite-horizon optimal control problem; feedback is designed offline to provide robustness to system uncertainty and disturbances and to establish an invariant âstate tubeâ that guarantees standard-mode re-solvability at any time. The algorithm design is shown for a class of systems with incrementally-conic uncertain/nonlinear terms and bounded disturbances.  +
Stochasticity plays an essential role in biochemical systems. Stochastic behaviors of bimodality, excitability, and fluctuations have been observed in biochemical reaction networks at low molecular numbers. Stochastic dynamics can be captured by modeling the system using a forward Kolmogorov equation known in the biochemical literature as the chemical master equation. The chemical master equation describes the time evolution of the probability distributions of the molecule species. We develop a stochastic framework for the design of these time evolving probability distributions that includes specifying their uni-/multi-modality, their first moments, and their rate of convergence to the stationary distribution. By solving the corresponding optimizations programs, we determine the reaction rates of the biochemical systems that satisfy our design specifications. We then apply the design framework to examples of biochemical reaction networks to illustrate its strengths and limitations.  +
We derive phenomenological models of gene expression from a mechanistic description of chemical reactions using an automated model reduction method. Using this method, we get analytical descriptions and computational performance guarantees to compare the reduced dynamics with the full models. We develop a new two-state model with the dynamics of the available free ribosomes in the system and the protein concentration. We show that this new two-state model captures the detailed mass-action kinetics of the chemical reaction network under various biologically plausible conditions on model parameters. On comparing the performance of this model with the commonly used mRNA transcript-protein dynamical model for gene expression, we analytically show that the free ribosome and protein model has superior error and robustness performance.  +
Substantial reductions in aircraft size are possible if shorter, more aggressive, serpentine inlet ducts are used for low-observability constrained propulsion installations. To obtain this benefit, both inlet separation and compressor stall dynamics must be controlled. In this paper the integrated control of this coupled inlet/compression system is considered. Initial results are shown using separation point actuation to control both separation and stall dynamics. Calculations show that separation can be substantially reduced with approximately 1.2% core flow, based on scaling previous results. Simulation results using a medium fidelity model show that proportional control of distortion has little effect on stall behavior.  +
This paper presents preliminary results on the use of low flow, high momentum, pulsed air injectors to control the onset of stall in a low-speed, axial flow compressor. By measuring the unsteady pressures in front of the rotor, the controller determines the magnitude and phase of a stall cell and controls the injection of air in front of the rotor face. Initial experimental results have verified that controller slightly extends the stall point of the compressor and virtually eliminates the hysteresis loop normally associated with stall. An explanation of this effect is proposed based on the quasi-steady effects of air injection on the compressor characteristic curve.  +
This paper presents the use of pulsed air injection to control the onset of rotating stall in a low-speed, axial flow compressor. By measuring the unsteady pressures near the rotor face, a control algorithm determines the magnitude and phase of the first mode of rotating stall and controls the injection of air in the front of the rotor face. Experimental results show that this technique slightly extends the stall point of the compressor and eliminates the hysteresis loop normally associated with rotating stall. A parametric study is used to determine the optimal control parameters for suppression of stall. Analytic results---using a low-dimensional model developed by Moore and Greitzer combined with an unsteady shift in the compressor characteristic to model the injectors---give further insights into the operation of the controller. Based on this model, we show that the behavior of the experiment can be explained as a change in the bifurcation behavior of the system under nonlinear feedback. A higher fidelity simulation model is then used to further verify some of the specific performance characteristics that are observed in experiments.  +