A novel adaptive-critic-based neural network (NN) controller in discrete time is designed to deliver a desired tracking performance for a class of nonlinear systems in the presence of actuator constraints. The constraints of the actuator are treated in the controller design as the saturation nonlinearity. The adaptive critic NN controller architecture based on state feedback includes two NNs: the critic NN is used to approximate the "strategic" utility function, whereas the action NN is employed to minimize both the strategic utility function and the unknown nonlinear dynamic estimation errors. The critic and action NN weight updates are derived by minimizing certain quadratic performance indexes. Using the Lyapunov approach and with novel weight updates, the uniformly ultimate boundedness of the closed-loop tracking error and weight estimates is shown in the presence of NN approximation errors and bounded unknown disturbances. The proposed NN controller works in the presence of multiple nonlinearities, unlike other schemes that normally approximate one nonlinearity. Moreover, the adaptive critic NN controller does not require an explicit offline training phase, and the NN weights can be initialized at zero or random. Simulation results justify the theoretical analysis


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Second Department

Computer Science

Keywords and Phrases

Approximate dynamic programming; Neural network control; Optimal control; reinforcement learning

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2007 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

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