Margaret P. Chapman

Margaret P. Chapman

(was student at University of California, Berkeley. Now, Assistant Professor at University of Toronto)

Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Maraget visited SRI in Summer, 2018 and was advised by Dr. Susmit Jha.


A risk-sensitive finite-time reachability approach for safety of stochastic dynamic systems

A classic reachability problem for safety of dynamic systems is to compute the set of initial states from which the state trajectory is guaranteed to stay inside a given constraint set over a given time horizon. In this paper, we leverage existing theory of reachability analysis and risk measures to devise a risk-sensitive reachability approach for safety of stochastic dynamic systems under non-adversarial disturbances over a finite time horizon. Specifically, we first introduce the notion of a risk-sensitive safe set asa set of initial states from which the risk of large constraint violations can be reduced to a required level via a control policy, where risk is quantified using the Conditional Value-at-Risk(CVaR) measure. Second, we show how the computation of a risk-sensitive safe set can be reduced to the solution to a Markov Decision Process (MDP), where cost is assessed according to CVaR. Third, leveraging this reduction, we devise a tractable algorithm to approximate a risk-sensitive safe set and provide arguments about its correctness. Finally, we present a realistic example inspired from stormwater catchment design to demonstrate the utility of risk-sensitive reachability analysis. In particular, our approach allows a practitioner to tune the level of risk sensitivity from worst-case (which is typical for Hamilton-Jacobi reachability analysis) to risk-neutral (which is the case for stochastic reachability analysis).