Create Simulink Environment and Train Agent

This example shows how to convert the PI controller in watertank.slx to a reinforcement learning deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) agent. For an example that trains a DDPG agent in MATLAB®, see Train DDPG Agent to Control Double Integrator System.

Water Tank Model

The original model for this example is the water tank model. The goal is to control the level of the water in the tank. For more information about the water tank model, see watertank Simulink Model.

From the original model, modify the model with the following steps:

  1. Delete the PID Controller block.

  2. Insert the RL Agent block.

  3. Connect the observation vector [edteh]T, where h is the height of the tank, e=r-h, and r is the reference height.

  4. Set up the reward signal to provide a positive reward when the error is small and penalties when the reward is large or the water height is outside the target range: reward=10(|e|<0.1)-1(|e|0.1)-100(h0||h20)

  5. Set up the terminate signal to stop the simulation if the water height is outside a given range: h0||h20

The resulting model is rlwatertank.slx. Open the resulting model.


Create Environment Interface

Creating an environment model includes defining the following:

  • Action and observation signals that the agent uses to interact with the environment. For more information see rlNumericSpec and rlFiniteSetSpec.

  • Reward signal that the agent uses to measure its success. For more information, see Define Reward Signals.

Define the observation and action data specifications, obsInfo and actInfo, repsectively.

obsInfo = rlNumericSpec([3 1],...
    'LowerLimit',[-inf -inf 0  ]',...
    'UpperLimit',[ inf  inf inf]');
obsInfo.Name = 'observations';
obsInfo.Description = 'integrated error, error, and measured height';
numObservations = obsInfo.Dimension(1);

actInfo = rlNumericSpec([1 1]);
actInfo.Name = 'flow';
numActions = numel(actInfo);

Build the environment interface object.

env = rlSimulinkEnv('rlwatertank','rlwatertank/RL Agent',...

Set a custom reset function that randomizes the reference values for the model.

env.ResetFcn = @(in)localResetFcn(in);

Specify the simulation time Tf and the agent sample time Ts in seconds

Ts = 1.0;
Tf = 200;

Fix the random generator seed for reproducibility.


Create DDPG agent

A DDPG agent approximates the long-term reward given observations and actions using a critic value function representation. To create the critic, first create a deep neural network with two inputs, the observation and action, and one output. For more information on creating a deep neural network value function representation, see Create Policy and Value Function Representations.

statePath = [
    imageInputLayer([numObservations 1 1], 'Normalization', 'none', 'Name', 'State')
    fullyConnectedLayer(50, 'Name', 'CriticStateFC1')
    reluLayer('Name', 'CriticRelu1')
    fullyConnectedLayer(25, 'Name', 'CriticStateFC2')];
actionPath = [
    imageInputLayer([numActions 1 1], 'Normalization', 'none', 'Name', 'Action')
    fullyConnectedLayer(25, 'Name', 'CriticActionFC1')];
commonPath = [
    additionLayer(2,'Name', 'add')
    fullyConnectedLayer(1, 'Name', 'CriticOutput')];

criticNetwork = layerGraph();
criticNetwork = addLayers(criticNetwork,statePath);
criticNetwork = addLayers(criticNetwork,actionPath);
criticNetwork = addLayers(criticNetwork,commonPath);
criticNetwork = connectLayers(criticNetwork,'CriticStateFC2','add/in1');
criticNetwork = connectLayers(criticNetwork,'CriticActionFC1','add/in2');

View the critic network configuration.


Specify options for the critic representation using rlRepresentationOptions.

criticOpts = rlRepresentationOptions('LearnRate',1e-03,'GradientThreshold',1);

Create the critic representation using the specified deep neural network and options. You must also specify the action and observation specifications for the critic, which you obtain from the environment interface. For more information, see rlRepresentation.

critic = rlRepresentation(criticNetwork,obsInfo,actInfo,'Observation',{'State'},'Action',{'Action'},criticOpts);

A DDPG agent decides which action to take given observations using an actor representation. To create the actor, first create a deep neural network with one input, the observation, and one output, the action.

Construct the actor in a similar manner as the critic.

actorNetwork = [
    imageInputLayer([numObservations 1 1], 'Normalization', 'none', 'Name', 'State')
    fullyConnectedLayer(3, 'Name', 'actorFC')
    tanhLayer('Name', 'actorTanh')
    fullyConnectedLayer(numActions, 'Name', 'Action')

actorOptions = rlRepresentationOptions('LearnRate',1e-04,'GradientThreshold',1);

actor = rlRepresentation(actorNetwork,obsInfo,actInfo,'Observation',{'State'},'Action',{'Action'},actorOptions);

To create the DDPG agent, first specify the DDPG agent options using rlDDPGAgentOptions.

agentOpts = rlDDPGAgentOptions(...
    'DiscountFactor',1.0, ...
    'MiniBatchSize',64, ...
agentOpts.NoiseOptions.Variance = 0.3;
agentOpts.NoiseOptions.VarianceDecayRate = 1e-5;

Then, create the DDPG agent using the specified actor representation, critic representation, and agent options. For more information, see rlDDPGAgent.

agent = rlDDPGAgent(actor,critic,agentOpts);

Train Agent

To train the agent, first specify the training options. For this example, use the following options:

  • Run the training for at most 5000 episodes, with each episode lasting at most 200 time steps.

  • Display the training progress in the Episode Manager dialog box (set the Plots option) and disable the command line display (set the Verbose option).

  • Stop training when the agent receives an average cumulative reward greater than 800 over twenty consecutive episodes. At this point, the agent can controls the level of water in a tank.

For more information, see rlTrainingOptions.

maxepisodes = 5000;
maxsteps = ceil(Tf/Ts);
trainOpts = rlTrainingOptions(...
    'MaxEpisodes',maxepisodes, ...
    'MaxStepsPerEpisode',maxsteps, ...
    'ScoreAveragingWindowLength',20, ...
    'Verbose', false, ...

Train the agent using the train function. Training is a computationally intensive process that takes several minutes to complete. To save time while running this example, load a pretrained agent by setting doTraining to false. To train the agent yourself, set doTraining to true.

doTraining = false;

if doTraining
    % Train the agent.
    trainingStats = train(agent,env,trainOpts);
    % Load pretrained agent for the example.

Validate Trained Agent

Validate the learned agent against the model by simulation.

experiences = sim(env,agent);

Local Functions

function in = localResetFcn(in)

% randomize reference signal
blk = sprintf('rlwatertank/Desired \nWater Level');
h = 3*randn + 10;
while h <= 0 || h >= 20
    h = 3*randn + 10;
in = setBlockParameter(in,blk,'Value',num2str(h));

% randomize initial height
h = 3*randn + 10;
while h <= 0 || h >= 20
    h = 3*randn + 10;
blk = 'rlwatertank/Water-Tank System/H';
in = setBlockParameter(in,blk,'InitialCondition',num2str(h));


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See Also

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