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See detailA vision-based autonomous inter-row weeder
Krishna Moorthy Parvathi, Sruthi Moorthy ULg; Detry, Renaud ULg; Boigelot, Bernard ULg et al

Conference (2014, March 05)

Autonomous robotic weed destruction plays a significant role in crop production as it automates one of the few unmechanized and drudging tasks of agriculture i.e. manual weed destruction. Robotic ... [more ▼]

Autonomous robotic weed destruction plays a significant role in crop production as it automates one of the few unmechanized and drudging tasks of agriculture i.e. manual weed destruction. Robotic technology also contributes to long-term sustainability with both economic and environmental benefits, by minimising the current dependency on chemicals. The aim of this study is to design a small low-cost versatile robot allowing the destruction of weeds that lie between the crop rows by navigating in the field autonomously and using a minimum of a priori information of the field. For the robot to navigate autonomously, necessary and sufficient information can be supplied by a machine vision system. One important issue with the application of machine vision is to develop a system that recognises the crop rows accurately and robustly which is tolerant to problems such as crops at varying growth stages, poor illumination conditions, missing crops, high weed pressure, etc. Aiming at accurate and robust real-time guidance of autonomous robot through the field, the plethora of image processing algorithms like Ostu’s threshold method and hough transform will be explored for two main processes namely the image segmentation and crop row detection respectively. In order to overcome the issue of large variabilities encountered in agriculture such as varying weather conditions, intelligent stochastic data fusion and machine learning algorithms will be used to combine data from heterogeneous sensors. Besides crop row detection, other major challenges foreseen are: mapping the unknown geometry of the field, high-level planning of efficient and complete coverage of the field, controlling the low-level op- erations of the robot, and ensuring security. Specialised sensors such as GPS will be considered to generate the map of the field enabling Simultaneous Localisation And Mapping (SLAM) in real time on a mobile platform. The generated map will be exploited along with the sensorial in- formation from crop row detection to efficiently plan and execute the guidance of the robot au- tonomously in the field, thereby enabling weed elimination. [less ▲]

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See detailRobot weed killers - no pain more gain
Krishna Moorthy Parvathi, Sruthi Moorthy ULg; Mercatoris, Benoît ULg; Boigelot, Bernard ULg

Poster (2014, February 07)

Weed destruction plays a significant role in crop production, and its automation has both economic and environmental benefits by minimizing the usage of chemicals in the fields. Our aim is to design a ... [more ▼]

Weed destruction plays a significant role in crop production, and its automation has both economic and environmental benefits by minimizing the usage of chemicals in the fields. Our aim is to design a small low-cost versatile robot allowing the destruction of weeds that lie between the crop rows by navigating in the field autonomously. Major challenges foreseen are: mapping the unknown geometry of the field, high-level planning of efficient and complete coverage of the field, and controlling the low-level operations of the robot. Traditionally, sensors like odometer have been used for localisation of robots but without much success in real-world scenarios. Specialized sensors like cameras will therefore be investigated and the plethora of image recognition algorithms will be explored and fine-tuned to enable Simultaneous Localisation And Mapping (SLAM) even on resource constrained robotic platforms. Vision-based localisation is not always viable because of the varying weather conditions of the environment and to overcome that, intelligent stochastic data fusion and machine learning algorithms will be utilized to combine data from heterogenous sensor. The image sensors for localisation will be re-used to differentiate crop rows from the weeds, which are cut when they grow. Finally, logics and reinforcement learning techniques will be explored, to exploit the generated map of the field and other sensorial information, to efficiently plan and execute weed elimination. [less ▲]

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See detailGénéralisation Min Max pour l'Apprentissage par Renforcement Batch et Déterministe : Relaxations pour le Cas Général T Etapes
Fonteneau, Raphaël ULg; Ernst, Damien ULg; Boigelot, Bernard ULg et al

in 8èmes Journées Francophones de Planification, Décision et Apprentissage pour la conduite de systèmes (JFPDA'13) (2013)

Cet article aborde le problème de généralisation minmax dans le cadre de l'apprentissage par renforcement batch et déterministe. Le problème a été originellement introduit par [Fonteneau, 2011], et il a ... [more ▼]

Cet article aborde le problème de généralisation minmax dans le cadre de l'apprentissage par renforcement batch et déterministe. Le problème a été originellement introduit par [Fonteneau, 2011], et il a déjà été montré qu'il est NP-dur. Deux schémas de relaxation pour le cas deux étapes ont été présentés aux JFPDA'12, et ce papier présente une généralisation de ces schémas au cas T étapes. Le premier schéma fonctionne en éliminant des contraintes afin d'obtenir un problème soluble en temps polynomial. Le deuxième schéma est une relaxation lagrangienne conduisant également à un problème soluble en temps polynomial. On montre théoriquement que ces deux schémas permettent d'obtenir de meilleurs résultats que ceux proposés par [Fonteneau, 2011]. [less ▲]

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See detailMin max generalization for deterministic batch mode reinforcement learning: relaxation schemes
Fonteneau, Raphaël ULg; Ernst, Damien ULg; Boigelot, Bernard ULg et al

in SIAM Journal on Control & Optimization (2013), 51(5), 33553385

We study the min max optimization problem introduced in Fonteneau et al. [Towards min max reinforcement learning, ICAART 2010, Springer, Heidelberg, 2011, pp. 61–77] for computing policies for batch mode ... [more ▼]

We study the min max optimization problem introduced in Fonteneau et al. [Towards min max reinforcement learning, ICAART 2010, Springer, Heidelberg, 2011, pp. 61–77] for computing policies for batch mode reinforcement learning in a deterministic setting with fixed, finite time horizon. First, we show that the min part of this problem is NP-hard. We then provide two relaxation schemes. The first relaxation scheme works by dropping some constraints in order to obtain a problem that is solvable in polynomial time. The second relaxation scheme, based on a Lagrangian relaxation where all constraints are dualized, can also be solved in polynomial time. We also theoretically prove and empirically illustrate that both relaxation schemes provide better results than those given in [Fonteneau et al., 2011, as cited above]. [less ▲]

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See detailGénéralisation min max pour l'apprentissage par renforcement batch et déterministe : schémas de relaxation
Fonteneau, Raphaël ULg; Ernst, Damien ULg; Boigelot, Bernard ULg et al

in Septièmes Journées Francophones de Planification, Décision et Apprentissage pour la conduite de systèmes (JFPDA 2012) (2012, May)

On s’intéresse au problème de généralisation min max dans le cadre de l’apprentissage par renforcement batch et déterministe. Le problème a été originellement introduit par Fonteneau et al. (2011). Dans ... [more ▼]

On s’intéresse au problème de généralisation min max dans le cadre de l’apprentissage par renforcement batch et déterministe. Le problème a été originellement introduit par Fonteneau et al. (2011). Dans un premier temps, on montre que le problème est NP-dur. Dans le cas où l’horizon d’optimisation vaut 2, on développe deux schémas de relaxation. Le premier schéma fonctionne en éliminant des contraintes de telle sorte qu’on obtienne un problème soluble en temps polynomial. Le deuxième schéma est une relaxation Lagrangienne conduisant à un problème conique-quadratique. On montre théoriquement et empiriquement que ces deux schémas permettent d’obtenir de meilleurs résultats que ceux proposés par Fonteneau et al. (2011). [less ▲]

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See detailAutomata-Based Symbolic Representations of Polyhedra
Boigelot, Bernard ULg; Brusten, Julien ULg; Degbomont, Jean-François ULg

in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (2012, March), 7183

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See detailDomain-specific regular acceleration
Boigelot, Bernard ULg

in International Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer (2012), 14(2), 193-206

The regular model-checking approach is a set of techniques aimed at exploring symbolically infinite state spaces. These techniques proceed by representing sets of configurations of the system under ... [more ▼]

The regular model-checking approach is a set of techniques aimed at exploring symbolically infinite state spaces. These techniques proceed by representing sets of configurations of the system under analysis by regular languages, and the transition relation between these configurations by a transformation over such languages. The set of reachable configurations can then be computed by repeatedly applying the transition relation, starting from a representation of the initial set of configurations, until a fixed point is reached. In order for this computation to terminate, it is generally needed to introduce so-called acceleration operators, the purpose of which is to explore in one computation step infinitely many paths in the transition graph of the system. A simple form of acceleration operator is one that is associated to a cycle in the transition graph, computing the set of states that can be obtained by following this cycle arbitrarily many times. The computation of acceleration operators is strongly dependent on the type of the data values that are manipulated by the system, and on the symbolic representation chosen for handling sets of such values. In this survey, we describe acceleration operators suited for the regular state-space exploration of systems relying on FIFO communication channels, as well as those based on integer and real variables. [less ▲]

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See detailRelaxation schemes for min max generalization in deterministic batch mode reinforcement learning
Fonteneau, Raphaël ULg; Ernst, Damien ULg; Boigelot, Bernard ULg et al

in 4th International NIPS Workshop on Optimization for Machine Learning (OPT 2011) (2011, December)

We study the min max optimization problem introduced in [Fonteneau, 2011] for computing policies for batch mode reinforcement learning in a deterministic setting. This problem is NP-hard. We focus on the ... [more ▼]

We study the min max optimization problem introduced in [Fonteneau, 2011] for computing policies for batch mode reinforcement learning in a deterministic setting. This problem is NP-hard. We focus on the two-stage case for which we provide two relaxation schemes. The first relaxation scheme works by dropping some constraints in order to obtain a problem that is solvable in polynomial time. The second relaxation scheme, based on a Lagrangian relaxation where all constraints are dualized, leads to a conic quadratic programming problem. Both relaxation schemes are shown to provide better results than those given in [Fonteneau, 2011]. [less ▲]

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See detailOn the Sets of Real Numbers Recognized by Finite Automata in Multiple Bases
Boigelot, Bernard ULg; Brusten, Julien ULg; Bruyère, Véronique

in Logical Methods in Computer Science (2010), 6(1), 1-17

This article studies the expressive power of finite automata recognizing sets of real numbers encoded in positional notation. We consider Muller automata as well as the restricted class of weak ... [more ▼]

This article studies the expressive power of finite automata recognizing sets of real numbers encoded in positional notation. We consider Muller automata as well as the restricted class of weak deterministic automata, used as symbolic set representations in actual applications. In previous work, it has been established that the sets of numbers that are recognizable by weak deterministic automata in two bases that do not share the same set of prime factors are exactly those that are definable in the first order additive theory of real and integer numbers. This result extends Cobham's theorem, which characterizes the sets of integer numbers that are recognizable by finite automata in multiple bases. In this article, we first generalize this result to multiplicatively independent bases, which brings it closer to the original statement of Cobham's theorem. Then, we study the sets of reals recognizable by Muller automata in two bases. We show with a counterexample that, in this setting, Cobham's theorem does not generalize to multiplicatively independent bases. Finally, we prove that the sets of reals that are recognizable by Muller automata in two bases that do not share the same set of prime factors are exactly those definable in the first order additive theory of real and integer numbers. These sets are thus also recognizable by weak deterministic automata. This result leads to a precise characterization of the sets of real numbers that are recognizable in multiple bases, and provides a theoretical justification to the use of weak automata as symbolic representations of sets. [less ▲]

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See detailImplicit Real Vector Automata
Boigelot, Bernard ULg; Brusten, Julien ULg; Degbomont, Jean-François ULg

in Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science [=EPTCS] (2010), 39

This paper addresses the symbolic representation of non-convex real polyhedra, i.e., sets of real vectors satisfying arbitrary Boolean combinations of linear constraints. We develop an original data ... [more ▼]

This paper addresses the symbolic representation of non-convex real polyhedra, i.e., sets of real vectors satisfying arbitrary Boolean combinations of linear constraints. We develop an original data structure for representing such sets, based on an implicit and concise encoding of a known structure, the Real Vector Automaton. The resulting formalism provides a canonical representation of polyhedra, is closed under Boolean operators, and admits an efficient decision procedure for testing the membership of a vector. [less ▲]

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See detailA Generalization of Semenov's Theorem to Automata over Real Numbers
Boigelot, Bernard ULg; Brusten, Julien ULg; Leroux, Jérôme

in Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence (2009), 5663

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See detailA generalization of Cobham's theorem to automata over real numbers
Boigelot, Bernard ULg; Brusten, Julien ULg

in Theoretical Computer Science (2009), 410(18), 1694-1703

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See detailOn the Sets of Real Numbers Recognized by Finite Automata in Multiple Bases
Boigelot, Bernard ULg; Brusten, Julien ULg; Bruyère, Véronique

in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (2008, July), 5126

This paper studies the expressive power of finite automata recognizing sets of real numbers encoded in positional notation. We consider Muller automata as well as the restricted class of weak ... [more ▼]

This paper studies the expressive power of finite automata recognizing sets of real numbers encoded in positional notation. We consider Muller automata as well as the restricted class of weak deterministic automata, used as symbolic set representations in actual applications. In previous work, it has been established that the sets of numbers that are recognizable by weak deterministic automata in two bases that do not share the same set of prime factors are exactly those that are definable in the first order additive theory of real and integer numbers (R, Z, +, <). This result extends Cobham's theorem, which characterizes the sets of integer numbers that are recognizable by finite automata in multiple bases. In this paper, we first generalize this result to multiplicatively independent bases, which brings it closer to the original statement of Cobham's theorem. Then, we study the sets of reals recognizable by Muller automata in two bases. We show with a counterexample that, in this setting, Cobham's theorem does not generalize to multiplicatively independent bases. Finally, we prove that the sets of reals that are recognizable by Muller automata in two bases that do not share the same set of prime factors are exactly those definable in (R, Z, +, <). These sets are thus also recognizable by weak deterministic automata. This result leads to a precise characterization of the sets of real numbers that are recognizable in multiple bases, and provides a theoretical justification to the use of weak automata as symbolic representations of sets. [less ▲]

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See detailA Generalization of Cobham's Theorem to Automata over Real Numbers
Boigelot, Bernard ULg; Brusten, Julien ULg

in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (2007, July), 4596

This paper studies the expressive power of finite-state automata recognizing sets of real numbers encoded positionally. It is known that the sets that are definable in the first-order additive theory of ... [more ▼]

This paper studies the expressive power of finite-state automata recognizing sets of real numbers encoded positionally. It is known that the sets that are definable in the first-order additive theory of real and integer variables (R, Z, +, <) can all be recognized by weak deterministic Büchi automata, regardless of the encoding base r > 1. In this paper, we prove the reciprocal property, i.e., that a subset of R that is recognizable by weak deterministic automata in every base r > 1 is necessarily definable in (R, Z, +, <). This result generalizes to real numbers the well-known Cobham's theorem on the finite-state recognizability of sets of integers. Our proof gives interesting insight into the internal structure of automata recognizing sets of real numbers, which may lead to efficient data structures for handling these sets. [less ▲]

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See detailThe power of hybrid acceleration
Boigelot, Bernard ULg; Herbreteau, Frédéric

in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (2006), 4144

This paper addresses the problem of computing symbolically the set of reachable configurations of a linear hybrid automaton. A solution proposed in earlier work consists in exploring the reachable ... [more ▼]

This paper addresses the problem of computing symbolically the set of reachable configurations of a linear hybrid automaton. A solution proposed in earlier work consists in exploring the reachable configurations using an acceleration operator for computing the iterated effect of selected control cycles. Unfortunately, this method imposes a periodicity requirement on the data transformations labeling these cycles, that is not always satisfied in practice. This happens in particular with the important subclass of timed automata, even though it is known that the paths of such automata have a periodic behavior. The goal of this paper is to broaden substantially the applicability of hybrid acceleration. This is done by introducing powerful reduction rules, aimed at translating hybrid data transformations into equivalent ones that satisfy the periodicity criterion. In particular, we show that these rules always succeed in the case of timed automata. This makes it possible to compute an exact symbolic representation of the set of reachable configurations of a linear hybrid automaton, with a guarantee of termination over the subclass of timed automata. Compared to other known solutions to this problem, our method is simpler, and applicable to a much larger class of systems. [less ▲]

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See detailNumber-Set Representations for Infinite-State Verification
Boigelot, Bernard ULg

in Proceedings of VISSAS 2005 (2006)

In order to compute the reachability set of infinite-state models, one needs a technique for exploring infinite sequences of transitions in finite time, as well as a symbolic representation for the finite ... [more ▼]

In order to compute the reachability set of infinite-state models, one needs a technique for exploring infinite sequences of transitions in finite time, as well as a symbolic representation for the finite and infinite sets of configurations that are to be handled. The representation problem can be solved by automata-based methods, which consist in representing a set by a finite-state machine recognizing its elements, suitably encoded as words over a finite alphabet. Automata-based set representations have many advantages: They are expressive, easy to manipulate, and admit a canonical form. In this survey, we describe two automata-based structures that have been developed for representing sets of numbers (or, more generally, of vectors): The Number Decision Diagram (NDD) for integer values, and the Real Vector Automaton (RVA) for real numbers. We discuss the expressiveness of these structures, present some construction algorithms, and give a brief introduction to some related acceleration techniques. [less ▲]

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See detailAn effective decision procedure for linear arithmetic over the integers and reals
Boigelot, Bernard ULg; Jodogne, Sébastien ULg; Wolper, Pierre ULg

in ACM transactions on Computational Logic (2005), 6(3), 614--633

This article considers finite-automata-based algorithms for handling linear arithmetic with both real and integer variables. Previous work has shown that this theory can be dealt with by using finite ... [more ▼]

This article considers finite-automata-based algorithms for handling linear arithmetic with both real and integer variables. Previous work has shown that this theory can be dealt with by using finite automata on infinite words, but this involves some difficult and delicate to implement algorithms. The contribution of this article is to show, using topological arguments, that only a restricted class of automata on infinite words are necessary for handling real and integer linear arithmetic. This allows the use of substantially simpler algorithms, which have been successfully implemented. [less ▲]

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See detailOmega-regular model checking
Boigelot, Bernard ULg; Legay, A.; Wolper, Pierre ULg

in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (2004), 2988

"Regular model checking" is the name of a family of techniques for analyzing infinite-state systems in which states are represented by words or trees, sets of states by finite automata on these objects ... [more ▼]

"Regular model checking" is the name of a family of techniques for analyzing infinite-state systems in which states are represented by words or trees, sets of states by finite automata on these objects, and transitions by finite automata operating on pairs of state encodings, i.e. finite-state transducers. In this context, the central problem is then to compute the iterative closure of a finite-state transducer. This paper addresses the use of regular model-checking like techniques for systems whose states are represented by infinite (omega) words. Its main motivation is to show the feasibility and usefulness of this approach through a combination of the necessary theoretical developments, implementation, and experimentation. The iteration technique that is used is adapted from recent work of the authors on the iteration of finite-word transducers. It proceeds by comparing successive elements of a sequence of approximations of the iteration, detecting an "increment" that is added to move from one approximation to the next, and extrapolating the sequence by allowing arbitrary repetitions of this increment. By restricting oneself to weak deterministic Buchi automata, and using a number of implementation optimizations, examples of significant size can be handled. The proposed transducer iteration technique can just as well be exploited to compute the closure of a given set of states by the transducer iteration, which has proven to be a very effective way of using the technique. Examples such as a leaking gas burner in which time is modeled by real variables have been handled completely within the automata-theoretic setting. [less ▲]

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