## About

757

Publications

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Introduction

George J. Pappas is the Joseph Moore Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on control theory, hybrid systems, hierarchical control, distributed control, robotics, embedded systems, cyber-physical systems, and internet of things.

Additional affiliations

January 2000 - present

January 1999 - December 1999

Education

September 1993 - December 1998

## Publications

Publications (757)

This paper considers the problem of safely coordinating a team of sensor-equipped robots to reduce uncertainty about a dynamical process, where the objective trades off information gain and energy cost. Optimizing this trade-off is desirable, but leads to a non-monotone objective function in the set of robot trajectories. Therefore, common multi-ro...

We study the temporal robustness of temporal logic specifications and show how to design temporally robust control laws for time-critical control systems. This topic is of particular interest in connected systems and interleaving processes such as multi-robot and human-robot systems where uncertainty in the behavior of individual agents and humans...

Domain generalization (DG) seeks predictors which perform well on unseen test distributions by leveraging labeled training data from multiple related distributions or domains. To achieve this, the standard formulation optimizes for worst-case performance over the set of all possible domains. However, with worst-case shifts very unlikely in practice...

We consider the problem of certifying the robustness of deep neural networks against real-world distribution shifts. To do so, we bridge the gap between hand-crafted specifications and realistic deployment settings by proposing a novel neural-symbolic verification framework, in which we train a generative model to learn perturbations from data and...

Supervised learning in function spaces is an emerging area of machine learning research with applications to the prediction of complex physical systems such as fluid flows, solid mechanics, and climate modeling. By directly learning maps (operators) between infinite dimensional function spaces, these models are able to learn discretization invarian...

We consider a linear stochastic bandit problem involving $M$ agents that can collaborate via a central server to minimize regret. A fraction $\alpha$ of these agents are adversarial and can act arbitrarily, leading to the following tension: while collaboration can potentially reduce regret, it can also disrupt the process of learning due to adversa...

The wide availability of data coupled with the computational advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning promise to enable many future technologies such as autonomous driving. While there has been a variety of successful demonstrations of these technologies, critical system failures have repeatedly been reported. Even if rare, such sys...

In this paper, we study the statistical difficulty of learning to control linear systems. We focus on two standard benchmarks, the sample complexity of stabilization, and the regret of the online learning of the Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR). Prior results state that the statistical difficulty for both benchmarks scales polynomially with the sys...

In this paper we address mobile manipulation planning problems in the presence of sensing and environmental uncertainty. In particular, we consider mobile sensing manipulators operating in environments with unknown geometry and uncertain movable objects, while being responsible for accomplishing tasks requiring grasping and releasing objects in a l...

We consider a path guarding problem in dynamic Defender-Attacker Blotto games (dDAB), where a team of robots must defend a path in a graph against adversarial agents. Multi-robot systems are particularly well suited to this application, as recent work has shown the effectiveness of these systems in related areas such as perimeter defense and survei...

Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in the topic of min-max optimization, owing to its relevance in the context of generative adversarial networks (GANs), robust control and optimization, and reinforcement learning. Motivated by this line of work, we consider a multi-agent min-max learning problem, and focus on the emerging challenge of...

In this paper, we address the stochastic MPC (SMPC) problem for linear systems, subject to chance state constraints and hard input constraints, under unknown noise distribution. First, we reformulate the chance state constraints as deterministic constraints depending only on explicit noise statistics. Based on these reformulated constraints, we des...

Lipschitz constants of neural networks allow for guarantees of robustness in image classification, safety in controller design, and generalizability beyond the training data. As calculating Lipschitz constants is NP-hard, techniques for estimating Lipschitz constants must navigate the trade-off between scalability and accuracy. In this work, we sig...

We study the temporal robustness of temporal logic specifications and show how to design temporally robust control laws for time-critical control systems. This topic is of particular interest in connected systems and interleaving processes such as multi-robot and human-robot systems where uncertainty in the behavior of individual agents and humans...

To generalize well, classifiers must learn to be invariant to nuisance transformations that do not alter an input's class. Many problems have "class-agnostic" nuisance transformations that apply similarly to all classes, such as lighting and background changes for image classification. Neural networks can learn these invariances given sufficient da...

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) has traditionally relied on representing the environment as low-level, geometric features, such as points, lines, and planes. Recent advances in object recognition capabilities, however, as well as demand for environment representations that facilitate higher-level autonomy, have motivated an object-base...

One of the primary challenges in large-scale distributed learning stems from stringent communication constraints. While several recent works address this challenge for static optimization problems, sequential decision-making under uncertainty has remained much less explored in this regard. Motivated by this gap, we introduce a new linear stochastic...

We study the temporal robustness of stochastic signals. This topic is of particular interest in interleaving processes such as multi-agent systems where communication and individual agents induce timing uncertainty. For a deterministic signal and a given specification, we first introduce the synchronous and the asynchronous temporal robustness to q...

Many of the successes of machine learning are based on minimizing an averaged loss function. However, it is well-known that this paradigm suffers from robustness issues that hinder its applicability in safety-critical domains. These issues are often addressed by training against worst-case perturbations of data, a technique known as adversarial tra...

Supervised operator learning is an emerging machine learning paradigm with applications to modeling the evolution of spatio-temporal dynamical systems and approximating general black-box relationships between functional data. We propose a novel operator learning method, LOCA (Learning Operators with Coupled Attention), motivated from the recent suc...

In perimeter defense, a team of defenders seeks to intercept a team of intruders before they reach the perimeter. Though the single defender case is relatively well studied, with multiple defenders significant complexity is introduced because coordination must also be considered. In this work, we present a formulation of the perimeter defense probl...

Underactuated vehicles have gained much attention in the recent years due to the increasing amount of aerial and underwater vehicles as well as nanosatellites. Trajectory tracking control of these vehicles is a substantial aspect for an increasing range of application domains. However, external disturbances and parts of the internal dynamics are of...

We propose a new risk-constrained formulation of the classical Linear Quadratic (LQ) stochastic control problem for general partially-observed systems. Our framework is motivated by the fact that the risk-neutral LQ controllers, although optimal in expectation, might be ineffective under relatively infrequent, yet statistically significant extreme...

Flocking control of multi-agents system is challenging for agents with partially unknown dynamics. This paper proposes an online learning-based controller to stabilize flocking motion of double-integrator agents with additional unknown nonlinear dynamics by using Gaussian processes (GP). Agents interaction is described by a time-invariant infinites...

Despite strong performance in numerous applications, the fragility of deep learning to input perturbations has raised serious questions about its use in safety-critical domains. While adversarial training can mitigate this issue in practice, state-of-the-art methods are increasingly application-dependent, heuristic in nature, and suffer from fundam...

We consider a standard federated learning (FL) setup where a group of clients periodically coordinate with a central server to train a statistical model. We develop a general algorithmic framework called FedLin to tackle some of the key challenges intrinsic to FL, namely objective heterogeneity, systems heterogeneity, and infrequent and imprecise c...

The deployment of autonomous systems in uncertain and dynamic environments has raised fundamental questions. Addressing these is pivotal to build fully autonomous systems and requires a systematic integration of planning and control. We first propose reactive risk signal interval temporal logic (ReRiSITL) as an extension of signal temporal logic (S...

Estimating the region of attraction (ROA) of general nonlinear autonomous systems remains a challenging problem and requires a case-by-case analysis. Leveraging the universal approximation property of neural networks, in this paper, we propose a counterexample-guided method to estimate the ROA of general nonlinear dynamical systems provided that th...

This paper proposes a novel highly scalable sampling-based planning algorithm for multi-robot active information acquisition tasks in complex environments. Active information gathering scenarios include target localization and tracking, active SLAM, surveillance, environmental monitoring and others. The objective is to compute control policies for...

We study a federated variant of the best-arm identification problem in stochastic multi-armed bandits: a set of clients, each of whom can sample only a subset of the arms, collaborate via a server to identify the best arm (i.e., the arm with the highest mean reward) with prescribed confidence. For this problem, we propose Fed-SEL, a simple communic...

The deployment of autonomous systems in uncertain and dynamic environments has raised fundamental questions. Addressing these is pivotal to build fully autonomous systems and requires a systematic integration of planning and control. We first propose reactive risk signal interval temporal logic (ReRiSITL) as an extension of signal temporal logic (S...

Motion planning is a fundamental problem and focuses on finding control inputs that enable a robot to reach a goal region while safely avoiding obstacles. However, in many situations, the state of the system may not be known but only estimated using, for instance, a Kalman filter. This results in a novel motion planning problem where safety must be...

This paper addresses the problem of active information gathering for multi-robot systems. Specifically, we consider scenarios where robots are tasked with reducing uncertainty of dynamical hidden states evolving in complex environments. The majority of existing information gathering approaches are centralized and, therefore, they cannot be applied...

In this paper, we consider networks of static sensors with integrated sensing and communication capabilities. The goal of the sensors is to propagate their collected information to every other agent in the network and possibly a human operator. Such a task requires constant communication among all agents which may result in collisions and congestio...

This paper presents Verisig 2.0, a verification tool for closed-loop systems with neural network (NN) controllers. We focus on NNs with tanh/sigmoid activations and develop a Taylor-model-based reachability algorithm through Taylor model preconditioning and shrink wrapping. Furthermore, we provide a parallelized implementation that allows Verisig 2...

As large amounts of data are circulated both from users to a cloud server and between users, privately aggregating the shared data is critical. This paper considers the problem of private weighted sum aggregation with secret weights, where an aggregator wants to compute the weighted sum of the local data of some agents. Based on the privacy require...

This paper presents Verisig 2.0, a verification tool for closed-loop systems with neural network (NN) controllers. We focus on NNs with tanh/sigmoid activations and develop a Taylor-model-based reachability algorithm through Taylor model preconditioning and shrink wrapping. Furthermore, we provide a parallelized implementation that allows Verisig 2...

This paper addresses a multi-robot planning problem in environments with partially unknown semantics. The environment is assumed to have known geometric structure (e.g., walls) and to be occupied by static labeled landmarks with uncertain positions and classes. This modeling approach gives rise to an uncertain semantic map generated by semantic SLA...

With the rapid development of cities, heterogeneous urban cyber-physical systems are designed to improve citizens' experience, \eg navigation and delivery service. However, the integration of services is not designed for disruptive events, an oversight that has rippling effects on service quality. For example, urban transportation systems consist o...

Emerging applications of collaborative autonomy, such as multitarget tracking, unknown map exploration, and persistent surveillance, require robots plan paths to navigate an environment while maximizing the information collected via on-board sensors. In this article, we consider such information acquisition tasks but in adversarial environments, wh...

Cloud computing and distributed computing are becoming ubiquitous in many modern control areas such as smart grids, building automation, robot swarms, and intelligent transportation systems. Compared to “isolated” control systems, the main advantages of cloud-based and distributed control systems are resource pooling and outsourcing, rapid scalabil...

We propose a Safe Pontryagin Differentiable Programming (Safe PDP) methodology, which establishes a theoretical and algorithmic safe differentiable framework to solve a broad class of safety-critical learning and control tasks -- problems that require the guarantee of both immediate and long-term constraint satisfaction at any stage of the learning...

Complex manipulation tasks, such as rearrangement planning of numerous objects, are combinatorially hard problems. Existing algorithms either do not scale well or assume a great deal of prior knowledge about the environment, and few offer any rigorous guarantees. In this paper, we propose a novel hybrid control architecture for achieving such tasks...

The least squares problem with L1-regularized regressors, called Lasso, is a widely used approach in optimization problems where sparsity of the regressors is desired. This formulation is fundamental for many applications in signal processing, machine learning and control. As a motivating problem, we investigate a sparse data predictive control pro...

We present a robust control framework for time-critical systems in which satisfying real-time constraints is of utmost importance for the safety of the system. Signal Temporal Logic (STL) provides a formal means to express a variety of real-time constraints over signals and is suited for planning and control purposes as it allows us to reason about...

We present a framework to interpret signal temporal logic (STL) formulas over discrete-time stochastic processes in terms of the induced risk. Each realization of a stochastic process either satisfies or violates an STL formula. In fact, we can assign a robustness value to each realization that indicates how robustly this realization satisfies an S...

In this paper, we investigate when system identification is statistically easy or hard, in the finite sample regime. Statistically easy to learn linear system classes have sample complexity that is polynomial with the system dimension. Most prior research in the finite sample regime falls in this category, focusing on systems that are directly exci...

The ability to store and manipulate information is a hallmark of computational systems. Whereas computers are carefully engineered to represent and perform mathematical operations on structured data, neurobiological systems adapt to perform analogous functions without needing to be explicitly engineered. Recent efforts have made progress in modelli...