AAAI Publications, Twenty-Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Efficient Approximate Value Iteration for Continuous Gaussian POMDPs
Jur van den Berg, Sachin Patil, Ron Alterovitz

Last modified: 2012-07-14


We introduce a highly efficient method for solving continuous partially-observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs) in which beliefs can be modeled using Gaussian distributions over the state space. Our method enables fast solutions to sequential decision making under uncertainty for a variety of problems involving noisy or incomplete observations and stochastic actions. We present an efficient approach to compute locally-valid approximations to the value function over continuous spaces in time polynomial (O[n^4]) in the dimension n of the state space. To directly tackle the intractability of solving general POMDPs, we leverage the assumption that beliefs are Gaussian distributions over the state space, approximate the belief update using an extended Kalman filter (EKF), and represent the value function by a function that is quadratic in the mean and linear in the variance of the belief. Our approach iterates towards a linear control policy over the state space that is locally-optimal with respect to a user defined cost function, and is approximately valid in the vicinity of a nominal trajectory through belief space. We demonstrate the scalability and potential of our approach on problems inspired by robot navigation under uncertainty for state spaces of up to 128 dimensions.

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