Augmented-SVM: Automatic space partitioning for combining multiple non-linear dynamics

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 25 (NIPS 2012)

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Ashwini Shukla, Aude Billard


Non-linear dynamical systems (DS) have been used extensively for building generative models of human behavior. Its applications range from modeling brain dynamics to encoding motor commands. Many schemes have been proposed for encoding robot motions using dynamical systems with a single attractor placed at a predefined target in state space. Although these enable the robots to react against sudden perturbations without any re-planning, the motions are always directed towards a single target. In this work, we focus on combining several such DS with distinct attractors, resulting in a multi-stable DS. We show its applicability in reach-to-grasp tasks where the attractors represent several grasping points on the target object. While exploiting multiple attractors provides more flexibility in recovering from unseen perturbations, it also increases the complexity of the underlying learning problem. Here we present the Augmented-SVM (A-SVM) model which inherits region partitioning ability of the well known SVM classifier and is augmented with novel constraints derived from the individual DS. The new constraints modify the original SVM dual whose optimal solution then results in a new class of support vectors (SV). These new SV ensure that the resulting multi-stable DS incurs minimum deviation from the original dynamics and is stable at each of the attractors within a finite region of attraction. We show, via implementations on a simulated 10 degrees of freedom mobile robotic platform, that the model is capable of real-time motion generation and is able to adapt on-the-fly to perturbations.