UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Deep reinforcement learning approaches for process control Pon Kumar, Steven Spielberg


The conventional and optimization based controllers have been used in process industries for more than two decades. The application of such controllers on complex systems could be computationally demanding and may require estimation of hidden states. They also require constant tuning, development of a mathematical model (first principle or empirical), design of control law which are tedious. Moreover, they are not adaptive in nature. On the other hand, in the recent years, there has been significant progress in the fields of computer vision and natural language processing that followed the success of deep learning. Human level control has been attained in games and physical tasks by combining deep learning with reinforcement learning. They were also able to learn the complex go game which has states more than number of atoms in the universe. Self-Driving cars, machine translation, speech recognition etc started to gain advantage of these powerful models. The approach to all of them involved problem formulation as a learning problem. Inspired by these applications, in this work we have posed process control problem as a learning problem to build controllers to address the limitations existing in current controllers.

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