A Sparse Bayesian Deep Learning Approach for Identification of Cascaded Tanks Benchmark

Hongpeng Zhou, Chahine Ibrahim, Wei Pan

Research output: Working paperPreprint

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Nonlinear system identification is important with a wide range of applications. The typical approaches for nonlinear system identification include Volterra series models, nonlinear autoregressive with exogenous inputs models, block-structured models, state-space models and neural network models. Among them, neural networks (NN) is an important black-box method thanks to its universal approximation capability and less dependency on prior information. However, there are several challenges associated with NN. The first one lies in the design of a proper neural network structure. A relatively simple network cannot approximate the feature of the system, while a complex model may lead to overfitting. The second lies in the availability of data for some nonlinear systems. For some systems, it is difficult to collect enough data to train a neural network. This raises the challenge that how to train a neural network for system identification with a small dataset. In addition, if the uncertainty of the NN parameter could be obtained, it would be also beneficial for further analysis. In this paper, we propose a sparse Bayesian deep learning approach to address the above problems. Specifically, the Bayesian method can reinforce the regularization on neural networks by introducing introduced sparsity-inducing priors. The Bayesian method can also compute the uncertainty of the NN parameter. An efficient iterative re-weighted algorithm is presented in this paper. We also test the capacity of our method to identify the system on various ratios of the original dataset. The one-step-ahead prediction experiment on Cascaded Tank System shows the effectiveness of our method. Furthermore, we test our algorithm with more challenging simulation experiment on this benchmark, which also outperforms other methods.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationIthaca, NY
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2019


  • Nonlinear system identification
  • Deep neural network
  • Sparse Bayesian learning


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