Adaptive Regret for Control of Time-Varying Dynamics

8 Jul 2020  ·  Paula Gradu, Elad Hazan, Edgar Minasyan ·

We consider the problem of online control of systems with time-varying linear dynamics. This is a general formulation that is motivated by the use of local linearization in control of nonlinear dynamical systems. To state meaningful guarantees over changing environments, we introduce the metric of {\it adaptive regret} to the field of control. This metric, originally studied in online learning, measures performance in terms of regret against the best policy in hindsight on {\it any interval in time}, and thus captures the adaptation of the controller to changing dynamics. Our main contribution is a novel efficient meta-algorithm: it converts a controller with sublinear regret bounds into one with sublinear {\it adaptive regret} bounds in the setting of time-varying linear dynamical systems. The main technical innovation is the first adaptive regret bound for the more general framework of online convex optimization with memory. Furthermore, we give a lower bound showing that our attained adaptive regret bound is nearly tight for this general framework.

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