Tag Archives: Neural Networks

Review of NNs for solving manipulator inverse kinematics

Daniel Cagigas-Mu�iz, Artificial Neural Networks for inverse kinematics problem in articulated robots, Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence,
Volume 126, Part D, 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.engappai.2023.107175.

The inverse kinematics problem in articulated robots implies to obtain joint rotation angles using the robot end effector position and orientation tool. Unlike the problem of direct kinematics, in inverse kinematics there are no systematic methods for solving the problem. Moreover, solving the inverse kinematics problem is particularly complicated for certain morphologies of articulated robots. Machine learning techniques and, more specifically, artificial neural networks (ANNs) have been proposed in the scientific literature to solve this problem. However, there are some limitations in the performance of ANNs. In this study, different techniques that involve ANNs are proposed and analyzed. The results show that the proposed original bootstrap sampling and hybrid methods can substantially improve the performance of approaches that use only one ANN. Although all of these improvements do not solve completely the inverse kinematics problem in articulated robots, they do lay the foundations for the design and development of future more effective and efficient controllers. Therefore, the source code and documentation of this research are also publicly available to practitioners interested in adapting and improving these methods to any industrial robot or articulated robot.

Identifying state-space-models of systems with autoencoders

Daniele Masti, Alberto Bemporad, Learning nonlinear state–space models using autoencoders, . Automatica, Volume 129, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.automatica.2021.109666.

We propose a methodology for the identification of nonlinear state–space models from input/output data using machine-learning techniques based on autoencoders and neural networks. Our framework simultaneously identifies the nonlinear output and state-update maps of the model. After formulating the approach and providing guidelines for tuning the related hyper-parameters (including the model order), we show its capability in fitting nonlinear models on different nonlinear system identification benchmarks. Performance is assessed in terms of open-loop prediction on test data and of controlling the system via nonlinear model predictive control (MPC) based on the identified nonlinear state–space model.

Mixing logical planning with NNs for decision making

Zuo, G., Pan, T., Zhang, T. et al., SOAR Improved Artificial Neural Network for Multistep Decision-making Tasks, . Cogn Comput 13, 612–625 (2021) DOI: 10.1007/s12559-020-09716-6.

Recently, artificial neural networks (ANNs) have been applied to various robot-related research areas due to their powerful spatial feature abstraction and temporal information prediction abilities. Decision-making has also played a fundamental role in the research area of robotics. How to improve ANNs with the characteristics of decision-making is a challenging research issue. ANNs are connectionist models, which means they are naturally weak in long-term planning, logical reasoning, and multistep decision-making. Considering that a small refinement of the inner network structures of ANNs will usually lead to exponentially growing data costs, an additional planning module seems necessary for the further improvement of ANNs, especially for small data learning. In this paper, we propose a state operator and result (SOAR) improved ANN (SANN) model, which takes advantage of both the long-term cognitive planning ability of SOAR and the powerful feature detection ability of ANNs. It mimics the cognitive mechanism of the human brain to improve the traditional ANN with an additional logical planning module. In addition, a data fusion module is constructed to combine the probability vector obtained by SOAR planning and the original data feature array. A data fusion module is constructed to convert the information from the logical sequences in SOAR to the probabilistic vector in ANNs. The proposed architecture is validated in two types of robot multistep decision-making experiments for a grasping task: a multiblock simulated experiment and a multicup experiment in a real scenario. The experimental results show the efficiency and high accuracy of our proposed architecture. The integration of SOAR and ANN is a good compromise between logical planning with small data and probabilistic classification with big data. It also has strong potential for more complicated tasks that require robust classification, long-term planning, and fast learning. Some potential applications include recognition of grasping order in multiobject environment and cooperative grasping of multiagents.

Learning robot simulators

Grant W. Woodford, Mathys C. du Plessis, Bootstrapped Neuro-Simulation for complex robots, . Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Volume 136, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.robot.2020.103708.

Robotic simulators are often used to speed up the Evolutionary Robotics (ER) process. Most simulation approaches are based on physics modelling. However, physics-based simulators can become complex to develop and require prior knowledge of the robotic system. Robotics simulators can be constructed using Machine Learning techniques, such as Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs). ANN-based simulator development usually requires a lengthy behavioural data collection period before the simulator can be trained and used to evaluate controllers during the ER process. The Bootstrapped Neuro-Simulation (BNS) approach can be used to simultaneously collect behavioural data, train an ANN-based simulator and evolve controllers for a particular robotic problem. This paper investigates proposed improvements to the BNS approach and demonstrates the viability of the approach by optimising gait controllers for a Hexapod and Snake robot platform.

Models of brain based on artificial neural networks

James C.R. Whittington, Rafal Bogacz, Theories of Error Back-Propagation in the Brain, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 23, Issue 3, 2019, Pages 235-250 DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2018.12.005.

This review article summarises recently proposed theories on how neural circuits in the brain could approximate the error back-propagation algorithm used by artificial neural networks. Computational models implementing these theories achieve learning as efficient as artificial neural networks, but they use simple synaptic plasticity rules based on activity of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons. The models have similarities, such as including both feedforward and feedback connections, allowing information about error to propagate throughout the network. Furthermore, they incorporate experimental evidence on neural connectivity, responses, and plasticity. These models provide insights on how brain networks might be organised such that modification of synaptic weights on multiple levels of cortical hierarchy leads to improved performance on tasks.

Distributing a neural network among the robots of a swarm

Michael Otte, An emergent group mind across a swarm of robots: Collective cognition and distributed sensing via a shared wireless neural network, The International Journal of Robotics Research, DOI: 10.1177/0278364918779704.

We pose the “trained-at-runtime heterogeneous swarm response problem,” in which a swarm of robots must do the following three things: (1) Learn to differentiate between multiple classes of environmental feature patterns (where the feature patterns are distributively sensed across all robots in the swarm). (2) Perform the particular collective behavior that is the appropriate response to the feature pattern that the swarm recognizes in the environment at runtime (where a collective behavior is defined by a mapping of robot actions to robots). (3) The data required for both (1) and (2) is uploaded to the swarm after it has been deployed, i.e., also at runtime (the data required for (1) is the specific environmental feature patterns that the swarm should learn to differentiate between, and the data required for (2) is the mapping from feature classes to swarm behaviors). To solve this problem, we propose a new form of emergent distributed neural network that we call an “artificial group mind.” The group mind transforms a robotic swarm into a single meta-computer that can be programmed at runtime. In particular, the swarm-spanning artificial neural network emerges as each robot maintains a slice of neurons and forms wireless neural connections between its neurons and those on nearby robots. The nearby robots are discovered at runtime. Experiments on real swarms containing up to 316 robots demonstrate that the group mind enables collective decision-making based on distributed sensor data, and solves the trained-at-runtime heterogeneous swarm response problem. The group mind is a new tool that can be used to create more complex emergent swarm behaviors. The group mind also enables swarm behaviors to be a function of global patterns observed across the environment—where the patterns are orders of magnitude larger than the robots themselves.

Using memory of past input data to improve the convergence of NN when faced with small samples

Zhang, S., Huang, K., Zhang, R. et al., Learning from Few Samples with Memory Network, Cogn Comput (2018) 10: 15, DOI: 10.1007/s12559-017-9507-z.

Neural networks (NN) have achieved great successes in pattern recognition and machine learning. However, the success of a NN usually relies on the provision of a sufficiently large number of data samples as training data. When fed with a limited data set, a NN’s performance may be degraded significantly. In this paper, a novel NN structure is proposed called a memory network. It is inspired by the cognitive mechanism of human beings, which can learn effectively, even from limited data. Taking advantage of the memory from previous samples, the new model achieves a remarkable improvement in performance when trained using limited data. The memory network is demonstrated here using the multi-layer perceptron (MLP) as a base model. However, it would be straightforward to extend the idea to other neural networks, e.g., convolutional neural networks (CNN). In this paper, the memory network structure is detailed, the training algorithm is presented, and a series of experiments are conducted to validate the proposed framework. Experimental results show that the proposed model outperforms traditional MLP-based models as well as other competitive algorithms in response to two real benchmark data sets.

Interesting approach to learning the sensorimotor behavior of a robot and of its predictive capabilities through NN

R. Santos, R. Ferreira, Â. Cardoso and A. Bernardino, SNet: Co-Developing Artificial Retinas and Predictive Internal Models for Real Robots, IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 213-222, DOI: 10.1109/TCDS.2016.2638885.

This paper focuses on a recently developed biologically inspired architecture, here denoted as sensorimotor network (SNet), able to co-develop sensorimotor structures directly from data acquired by a robot interacting with its environment. Such networks learn efficient internal models of the sensorimotor system, developing simultaneously sensor and motor representations as well as predictive models of the sensorimotor relationships adapted to their operating environment. Here, we describe our recent model of sensorimotor development and compare its performance with neural network models in predicting self-induced stimuli. In addition, we illustrate the influence of available resources and environment characteristics in the development of the SNet structures. Finally, an SNet is trained using real data recorded during a quadricopter drone flight.

Cognitive control: a nice bunch of definitions and state-of-the-art

S. Haykin, M. Fatemi, P. Setoodeh and Y. Xue, Cognitive Control, in Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 100, no. 12, pp. 3156-3169, Dec. 2012., DOI: 10.1109/JPROC.2012.2215773.

This paper is inspired by how cognitive control manifests itself in the human brain and does so in a remarkable way. It addresses the many facets involved in the control of directed information flow in a dynamic system, culminating in the notion of information gap, defined as the difference between relevant information (useful part of what is extracted from the incoming measurements) and sufficient information representing the information needed for achieving minimal risk. The notion of information gap leads naturally to how cognitive control can itself be defined. Then, another important idea is described, namely the two-state model, in which one is the system’s state and the other is the entropic state that provides an essential metric for quantifying the information gap. The entropic state is computed in the perceptual part (i.e., perceptor) of the dynamic system and sent to the controller directly as feedback information. This feedback information provides the cognitive controller the information needed about the environment and the system to bring reinforcement leaning into play; reinforcement learning (RL), incorporating planning as an integral part, is at the very heart of cognitive control. The stage is now set for a computational experiment, involving cognitive radar wherein the cognitive controller is enabled to control the receiver via the environment. The experiment demonstrates how RL provides the mechanism for improved utilization of computational resources, and yet is able to deliver good performance through the use of planning. The paper finishes with concluding remarks.

Nice summary of reinforcement learning in control (Adaptive Dynamic Programming) and the use of Q-learning plus NN approximators for solving a control problem under a game theory framework

Kyriakos G. Vamvoudakis, Non-zero sum Nash Q-learning for unknown deterministic continuous-time linear systems, Automatica, Volume 61, November 2015, Pages 274-281, ISSN 0005-1098, DOI: 10.1016/j.automatica.2015.08.017.

This work proposes a novel Q-learning algorithm to solve the problem of non-zero sum Nash games of linear time invariant systems with N -players (control inputs) and centralized uncertain/unknown dynamics. We first formulate the Q-function of each player as a parametrization of the state and all other the control inputs or players. An integral reinforcement learning approach is used to develop a model-free structure of N -actors/ N -critics to estimate the parameters of the N -coupled Q-functions online while also guaranteeing closed-loop stability and convergence of the control policies to a Nash equilibrium. A 4th order, simulation example with five players is presented to show the efficacy of the proposed approach.