Using Taint Analysis and Reinforcement Learning (TARL) to Repair Autonomous Robot Software


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IEEE Workshop on Assured Autonomous Systems, May 2020


Artificial Intelligence and Robotics | Software Engineering


It is important to be able to establish formal performance bounds for autonomous systems. However, formal verification techniques require a model of the environment in which the system operates; a challenge for autonomous systems, especially those expected to operate over longer timescales. This paper describes work in progress to automate the monitor and repair of ROS-based autonomous robot software written for an a-priori partially known and possibly incorrect environment model. A taint analysis method is used to automatically extract the data-flow sequence from input topic to publish topic, and instrument that code. A unique reinforcement learning approximation of MDP utility is calculated, an empirical and non-invasive characterization of the inherent objectives of the software designers. By comparing design (a-priori) utility with deploy (deployed system) utility, we show, using a small but real ROS example, that it’s possible to monitor a performance criterion and relate violations of the criterion to parts of the software. The software is then patched using automated software repair techniques and evaluated against the original off-line utility.

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