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In control theory, complicated dynamics such as systems of (nonlinear) differential equations are controlled mostly to achieve stability. This fundamental property, which can be with respect to a desired operating point or a prescribed trajectory, is often linked with optimality, which requires minimizing a certain cost along the trajectories of a stable system. In formal verification (model checking), simple systems, such as finite-state transition graphs that model computer programs or digital circuits, are checked against rich specifications given as formulas of temporal logics. The formal synthesis problem, in which the goal is to synthesize or control a finite system from a temporal logic specification, has recently received increased interest. In this article, we review some recent results on the connection between optimal control and formal synthesis. Specifically, we focus on the following problem: Given a cost and a correctness temporal logic specification for a dynamical system, generate an optimal control strategy that satisfies the specification. We first provide a short overview of automata-based methods, in which the dynamics of the system are mapped to a finite abstraction that is then controlled using an automaton corresponding to the specification. We then provide a detailed overview of a class of methods that rely on mapping the specification and the dynamics to constraints of an optimization problem. We discuss advantages and limitations of these two types of approaches and suggest directions for future research.

@article{belta_formal_2019, title = {Formal {Methods} for {Control} {Synthesis}: {An} {Optimization} {Perspective}}, volume = {2}, issn = {2573-5144, 2573-5144}, shorttitle = {Formal {Methods} for {Control} {Synthesis}}, url = {https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-control-053018-023717}, doi = {10.1146/annurev-control-053018-023717}, abstract = {In control theory, complicated dynamics such as systems of (nonlinear) differential equations are controlled mostly to achieve stability. This fundamental property, which can be with respect to a desired operating point or a prescribed trajectory, is often linked with optimality, which requires minimizing a certain cost along the trajectories of a stable system. In formal verification (model checking), simple systems, such as finite-state transition graphs that model computer programs or digital circuits, are checked against rich specifications given as formulas of temporal logics. The formal synthesis problem, in which the goal is to synthesize or control a finite system from a temporal logic specification, has recently received increased interest. In this article, we review some recent results on the connection between optimal control and formal synthesis. Specifically, we focus on the following problem: Given a cost and a correctness temporal logic specification for a dynamical system, generate an optimal control strategy that satisfies the specification. We first provide a short overview of automata-based methods, in which the dynamics of the system are mapped to a finite abstraction that is then controlled using an automaton corresponding to the specification. We then provide a detailed overview of a class of methods that rely on mapping the specification and the dynamics to constraints of an optimization problem. We discuss advantages and limitations of these two types of approaches and suggest directions for future research.}, language = {en}, number = {1}, urldate = {2021-10-28}, journal = {Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems}, author = {Belta, Calin and Sadraddini, Sadra}, month = may, year = {2019}, pages = {115--140}, }

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