Control Seminar

CANCELED: Learning Models and Constraints with Limited Data

Necmiye OzayAssociate Professor of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of Michigan

***This seminar has been canceled.

ABSTRACT: System identification has a long history with several well-established methods, in particular for learning linear dynamical systems from input/output data. While the asymptotic properties of these methods are well understood as the number of data points goes to infinity or the noise level tends to zero, how well their estimates in finite data regime evolve is relatively less studied. This talk will mainly focus on our analysis of the robustness of the classical Ho-Kalman algorithm and how it translates to non-asymptotic estimation error bounds as a function of the number of data samples. In the second part of the talk, I will describe a practical problem where a robot needs to learn safe behaviors from a limited number of demonstrations. We recast this problem as an inverse constraint learning problem, similar to inverse optimal control. Our experiments with several robotics problems show (local) optimality can be a very strong prior in learning from demonstrations. I will conclude the talk with some open problems and directions for future research.

BIO: Necmiye Ozay received her B.S. degree from Bogazici University, Istanbul in 2004, her M.S. degree from the Pennsylvania State University, University Park in 2006 and her Ph.D. degree from Northeastern University, Boston in 2010, all in electrical engineering. She was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena between 2010 and 2013. She joined the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2013, where she is currently an associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is also a member of the Michigan Robotics Institute. Dr. Ozay’s research interests include hybrid dynamical systems, control, optimization and formal methods with applications in cyber-physical systems, system identification, verification & validation, autonomy and dynamic data analysis. Her papers received several awards including a Nonlinear analysis: Hybrid Systems Prize Paper Award for years 2014-2016. She has received the 1938E Award and a Henry Russel Award from the University of Michigan for her contributions to teaching and research, and five young investigator awards, including NSF CAREER.

***Event will take place via Zoom. Zoom link and password will be distributed to the Controls Group e-mail list-serv. To join this list-serv, please send an (empty) email message to with the word “subscribe” in the subject line. Zoom information is also available upon request to Katherine Godwin (

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