Risk-Sensitive Optimal Control of Hidden Markov Models: Structural Results
Marcus, Steven I.
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We consider a risk-sensitive optimal control problem for hidden Markov models (HMM), i.e. controlled Markov chains where state information is only available to the controller via an output (message) process. Building upon recent results by Baras, James and Elliott, we report in this paper result of an investigation on the nature and structure of risk-sensitive controllers. The question we pose is: How does risk-sensitivity manifest itself in the structure of a controller? We present the dynamic programming equations for risk-sensitive control of HMMs and show a number of structural properties of the value function (e.g., concavity and piecewise linearity) and the optimal risk-sensitive controller, and compare these to the corresponding results for the risk- neutral case. Furthermore, we show that indeed the risk-sensitive controller and its corresponding information state converge to the known solutions for the risk-neutral situation, as the risk factor goes to zero. We also study the infinite and general risk aversion cases. In addition, we present a particular case study of a popular benchmark machine replacement problem.