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Learning Sparse Dynamical Systems from a Single Sample Trajectory

by   Salar Fattahi, et al.

This paper addresses the problem of identifying sparse linear time-invariant (LTI) systems from a single sample trajectory generated by the system dynamics. We introduce a Lasso-like estimator for the parameters of the system, taking into account their sparse nature. Assuming that the system is stable, or that it is equipped with an initial stabilizing controller, we provide sharp finite-time guarantees on the accurate recovery of both the sparsity structure and the parameter values of the system. In particular, we show that the proposed estimator can correctly identify the sparsity pattern of the system matrices with high probability, provided that the length of the sample trajectory exceeds a threshold. Furthermore, we show that this threshold scales polynomially in the number of nonzero elements in the system matrices, but logarithmically in the system dimensions --- this improves on existing sample complexity bounds for the sparse system identification problem. We further extend these results to obtain sharp bounds on the ℓ_∞-norm of the estimation error and show how different properties of the system---such as its stability level and mutual incoherency---affect this bound. Finally, an extensive case study on power systems is presented to illustrate the performance of the proposed estimation method.


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