## About

815

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 (815)

Learning algorithms have become an integral component to modern engineering solutions. Examples range from self-driving cars and recommender systems to finance and even critical infrastructure, many of which are typically under the purview of control theory. While these algorithms have already shown tremendous promise in certain applications
[1]...

This tutorial serves as an introduction to recently developed non-asymptotic methods in the theory of -- mainly linear -- system identification. We emphasize tools we deem particularly useful for a range of problems in this domain, such as the covering technique, the Hanson-Wright Inequality and the method of self-normalized martingales. We then em...

With the increase in data availability, it has been widely demonstrated that neural networks (NN) can capture complex system dynamics precisely in a data-driven manner. However, the architectural complexity and nonlinearity of the NNs make it challenging to synthesize a provably safe controller. In this work, we propose a novel safety filter that r...

This paper addresses the problem of active collaborative localization in heterogeneous robot teams with unknown data association. It involves positioning a small number of identical unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) at desired positions so that an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can, through unlabelled measurements of UGVs, uniquely determine its globa...

This article considers the problem of safely coordinating a team of sensor-equipped robots to reduce uncertainty about a dynamical process, where the objective tradeoffs information gain and energy cost. Optimizing this tradeoff is desirable, but leads to a nonmonotone objective function in the set of robot trajectories. Therefore, common multirobo...

We propose a framework for planning in unknown dynamic environments with probabilistic safety guarantees using conformal prediction. Particularly, we design a model predictive controller (MPC) that uses i) trajectory predictions of the dynamic environment, and ii) prediction regions quantifying the uncertainty of the predictions. To obtain predicti...

The recent increase in data availability and reliability has led to a surge in the development of learning-based model predictive control (MPC) frameworks for robot systems. Despite attaining substantial performance improvements over their non-learning counterparts, many of these frameworks rely on an offline learning procedure to synthesize a dyna...

Federated learning (FL) has recently gained much attention due to its effectiveness in speeding up supervised learning tasks under communication and privacy constraints. However, whether similar speedups can be established for reinforcement learning remains much less understood theoretically. Towards this direction, we study a federated policy eval...

One prominent approach toward resolving the adversarial vulnerability of deep neural networks is the two-player zero-sum paradigm of adversarial training, in which predictors are trained against adversarially-chosen perturbations of data. Despite the promise of this approach, algorithms based on this paradigm have not engendered sufficient levels o...

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...

Many modern autonomous systems, particularly multi-agent systems, are time-critical and need to be robust against timing uncertainties. Previous works have studied left and right time robustness of signal temporal logic specifications by considering time shifts in the predicates that are either only to the left or only to the right. We propose a co...

Accurate and robust state estimation is critical for autonomous navigation of robot teams. This task is especially challenging for large groups of size, weight, and power (SWAP) constrained aerial robots operating in perceptually-degraded GPS-denied environments. We can, however, actively increase the amount of perceptual information available to s...

We derive upper bounds for random design linear regression with dependent ($\beta$-mixing) data absent any realizability assumptions. In contrast to the strictly realizable martingale noise regime, no sharp instance-optimal non-asymptotics are available in the literature. Up to constant factors, our analysis correctly recovers the variance term pre...

Data-driven approaches achieve remarkable results for the modeling of complex dynamics based on collected data. However, these models often neglect basic physical principles which determine the behavior of any real-world system. This omission is unfavorable in two ways: The models are not as data-efficient as they could be by incorporating physical...

Variational autoencoders allow to learn a lower-dimensional latent space based on high-dimensional input/output data. Using video clips as input data, the encoder may be used to describe the movement of an object in the video without ground truth data (unsupervised learning). Even though the object's dynamics is typically based on first principles,...

Switching physical systems are ubiquitous in modern control applications, for instance, locomotion behavior of robots and animals, power converters with switches and diodes. The dynamics and switching conditions are often hard to obtain or even inaccessible in case of a-priori unknown environments and nonlinear components. Black-box neural networks...

Federated learning (FL) has recently gained much attention due to its effectiveness in speeding up supervised learning tasks under communication and privacy constraints. However, whether similar speedups can be established for reinforcement learning remains much less understood theoretically. Towards this direction, we study a federated policy eval...

Several task and motion planning algorithms have been proposed recently to design paths for mobile robot teams with collaborative high-level missions specified using formal languages, such as Linear Temporal Logic (LTL). However, the designed paths often lack reactivity to failures of robot capabilities (e.g., sensing, mobility, or manipulation) th...

Conformal prediction is a statistical tool for producing prediction regions of machine learning models that are valid with high probability. However, applying conformal prediction to time series data leads to conservative prediction regions. In fact, to obtain prediction regions over $T$ time steps with confidence $1-\delta$, {previous works requir...

We consider perception-based control using state estimates that are obtained from high-dimensional sensor measurements via learning-enabled perception maps. However, these perception maps are not perfect and result in state estimation errors that can lead to unsafe system behavior. Stochastic sensor noise can make matters worse and result in estima...

Unsupervised learning with functional data is an emerging paradigm of machine learning research with applications to computer vision, climate modeling and physical systems. A natural way of modeling functional data is by learning operators between infinite dimensional spaces, leading to discretization invariant representations that scale independen...

We consider a linear stochastic bandit problem involving M agents that can collaborate via a central server to minimize regret. A fraction α 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 adversaries. In...

We initiate the study of federated reinforcement learning under environmental heterogeneity by considering a policy evaluation problem. Our setup involves $N$ agents interacting with environments that share the same state and action space but differ in their reward functions and state transition kernels. Assuming agents can communicate via a centra...

Neural networks are notoriously vulnerable to adversarial attacks -- small imperceptible perturbations that can change the network's output drastically. In the reverse direction, there may exist large, meaningful perturbations that leave the network's decision unchanged (excessive invariance, nonivertibility). We study the latter phenomenon in two...

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 large-scale machine learning, recent works have studied the effects of compressing gradients in stochastic optimization in order to alleviate the communication bottleneck. These works have collectively revealed that stochastic gradient descent (SGD) is robust to structured perturbations such as quantization, sparsification, and delays. Perhaps s...

This paper proposes an algorithm for motion planning among dynamic agents using adaptive conformal prediction. We consider a deterministic control system and use trajectory predictors to predict the dynamic agents' future motion, which is assumed to follow an unknown distribution. We then leverage ideas from adaptive conformal prediction to dynamic...

This paper proposes an algorithm for motion planning among dynamic agents using adaptive conformal prediction. We consider a deterministic control system and use trajectory predictors to predict the dynamic agents' future motion, which is assumed to follow an unknown distribution. We then leverage ideas from adaptive conformal prediction to dynamic...

We are interested in predicting failures of cyber-physical systems during their operation. Particularly, we consider stochastic systems and signal temporal logic specifications, and we want to calculate the probability that the current system trajectory violates the specification. The paper presents two predictive runtime verification algorithms th...

We propose a framework for planning in unknown dynamic environments with probabilistic safety guarantees using conformal prediction. Particularly, we design a model predictive controller (MPC) that uses i) trajectory predictions of the dynamic environment, and ii) prediction regions quantifying the uncertainty of the predictions. To obtain predicti...

In this article, we design algorithms to protect swarm-robotics applications against sensor denial-of-service attacks on robots. We focus on applications requiring the robots to jointly select actions, e.g., which trajectory to follow, among a set of available actions. Such applications are central in large-scale robotic applications, such as multi...

This paper addresses the Multi-Robot Active Information Acquisition (AIA) problem, where a team of mobile robots, communicating through an underlying graph, estimates a hidden state expressing a phenomenon of interest. Applications like target tracking, coverage and SLAM can be expressed in this framework. Existing approaches, though, are either no...

This paper addresses a new semantic multi-robot planning problem in uncertain and dynamic environments. Particularly, the environment is occupied with non-cooperative, mobile, uncertain labeled targets. These targets are governed by stochastic dynamics while their current and future positions as well as their semantic labels are uncertain. Our goal...

This tutorial survey provides an overview of recent non-asymptotic advances in statistical learning theory as relevant to control and system identification. While there has been substantial progress across all areas of control, the theory is most well-developed when it comes to linear system identification and learning for the linear quadratic regu...

This note studies state estimation in wireless networked control systems with secrecy against eavesdropping. Specifically, a sensor transmits a system state information to the estimator over a legitimate user link, and an eavesdropper overhears these data over its link independent of the user link. Each connection may be affected by packet losses a...

Consensus algorithms form the foundation for many distributed algorithms by enabling multiple robots to converge to consistent estimates of global variables using only local communication. However, standard consensus protocols can be easily led astray by non-cooperative team members. As such, the study of resilient forms of consensus is necessary f...

Motivated by the fragility of neural network (NN) controllers in safety-critical applications, we present a data-driven framework for verifying the risk of stochastic dynamical systems with NN controllers. Given a stochastic control system, an NN controller, and a specification equipped with a notion of trace robustness (e.g., constraint functions...

Motivated by the fragility of neural network (NN) controllers in safety-critical applications, we present a data-driven framework for verifying the risk of stochastic dynamical systems with NN controllers. Given a stochastic control system, an NN controller, and a specification equipped with a notion of trace robustness (e.g., constraint functions...

In this paper, we present an online adaptive planning strategy for a team of robots with heterogeneous sensors to sample from a latent spatial field using a learned model for decision making. Current robotic sampling methods seek to gather information about an observable spatial field. However, many applications, such as environmental monitoring an...

In this article, we address a multi-robot planning problem in environments with partially unknown semantics. The environment is assumed to have a 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 sem...

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...