Cocktail: Learn a Better Neural Network Controller from Multiple Experts via Adaptive Mixing and Robust Distillation

Yixuan Wang, Chao Huang, Zhilu Wang, Shichao Xu, Zhaoran Wang, Qi Zhu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Neural networks are being increasingly applied to control and decision making for learning-enabled cyber-physical systems (LE-CPSs). They have shown promising performance without requiring the development of complex physical models; however, their adoption is significantly hindered by the concerns on their safety, robustness, and efficiency. In this work, we propose COCKTAIL, a novel design framework that automatically learns a neural network based controller from multiple existing control methods (experts) that could be either model-based or neural network based. In particular, COCKTAIL first performs reinforcement learning to learn an optimal system-level adaptive mixing strategy that incorporates the underlying experts with dynamically-assigned weights, and then conducts a teacher-student distillation with probabilistic adversarial training and regularization to synthesize a student neural network controller with improved control robustness (measured by a safe control rate metric with respect to adversarial attacks or measurement noises), control energy efficiency, and verifiability (measured by the computation time for verification). Experiments on three non-linear systems demonstrate significant advantages of our approach on these properties over various baseline methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2021 58th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781665432740
StatePublished - Dec 5 2021
Event58th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC 2021 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Dec 5 2021Dec 9 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings - Design Automation Conference
ISSN (Print)0738-100X


Conference58th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


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