Parallel optimization of polynomials for large-scale problems in stability and control
In this thesis, we focus on some of the NP-hard problems in control theory. Thanks to the converse Lyapunov theory, these problems can often be modeled as optimization over polynomials. To avoid the problem of intractability, we establish a trade off between accuracy and complexity. In particular, we develop a sequence of tractable optimization problems - in the form of Linear Programs (LPs) and/or Semi-Definite Programs (SDPs) - whose solutions converge to the exact solution of the NP-hard problem. However, the computational and memory complexity of these LPs and SDPs grow exponentially with the progress of the sequence - meaning that improving the accuracy of the solutions requires solving SDPs with tens of thousands of decision variables and constraints. Setting up and solving such problems is a significant challenge. The existing optimization algorithms and software are only designed to use desktop computers or small cluster computers - machines which do not have sufficient memory for solving such large SDPs. Moreover, the speed-up of these algorithms does not scale beyond dozens of processors. This in fact is the reason we seek parallel algorithms for setting-up and solving large SDPs on large cluster- and/or super-computers.
We propose parallel algorithms for stability analysis of two classes of systems: 1) Linear systems with a large number of uncertain parameters; 2) Nonlinear systems defined by polynomial vector fields. First, we develop a distributed parallel algorithm which applies Polya's and/or Handelman's theorems to some variants of parameter-dependent Lyapunov inequalities with parameters defined over the standard simplex. The result is a sequence of SDPs which possess a block-diagonal structure. We then develop a parallel SDP solver which exploits this structure in order to map the computation, memory and communication to a distributed parallel environment. Numerical tests on a supercomputer demonstrate the ability of the algorithm to efficiently utilize hundreds and potentially thousands of processors, and analyze systems with 100+ dimensional state-space. Furthermore, we extend our algorithms to analyze robust stability over more complicated geometries such as hypercubes and arbitrary convex polytopes. Our algorithms can be readily extended to address a wide variety of problems in control such as Hinfinity synthesis for systems with parametric uncertainty and computing control Lyapunov functions.