Symplectic integration for optimal ergodic control

Ahalya Prabhakar, Kathrin Flasskamp, Todd D. Murphey

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

4 Scopus citations


Autonomous active exploration requires search algorithms that can effectively balance the need for workspace coverage with energetic costs. We present a strategy for planning optimal search trajectories with respect to the distribution of expected information over a workspace. We formulate an iterative optimal control algorithm for general nonlinear dynamics, where the metric for information gain is the difference between the spatial distribution and the statistical representation of the time-averaged trajectory, i.e. ergodicity. Previous work has designed a continuous-time trajectory optimization algorithm. In this paper, we derive two discrete-time iterative trajectory optimization approaches, one based on standard first-order discretization and the other using symplectic integration. The discrete-time methods based on first-order discretization techniques are both faster than the continuous-time method in the studied examples. Moreover, we show that even for a simple system, the choice of discretization has a dramatic impact on the resulting control and state trajectories. While the standard discretization method turns unstable, the symplectic method, which is structure-preserving, achieves lower values for the objective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication54rd IEEE Conference on Decision and Control,CDC 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781479978861
StatePublished - Feb 8 2015
Event54th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2015 - Osaka, Japan
Duration: Dec 15 2015Dec 18 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control
Volume54rd IEEE Conference on Decision and Control,CDC 2015
ISSN (Print)0743-1546
ISSN (Electronic)2576-2370


Other54th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Control and Optimization


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