Control of pH Neutralization Process using Simulation Based Dynamic Programming in Simulation and Experiment (ICCAS 2004)

  • Kim, Dong-Kyu (Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Korea University) ;
  • Lee, Kwang-Soon (Department of Chemical Engineering, Sogang University) ;
  • Yang, Dae-Ryook (Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Korea University)
  • Published : 2004.08.25


For general nonlinear processes, it is difficult to control with a linear model-based control method and nonlinear controls are considered. Among the numerous approaches suggested, the most rigorous approach is to use dynamic optimization. Many general engineering problems like control, scheduling, planning etc. are expressed by functional optimization problem and most of them can be changed into dynamic programming (DP) problems. However the DP problems are used in just few cases because as the size of the problem grows, the dynamic programming approach is suffered from the burden of calculation which is called as 'curse of dimensionality'. In order to avoid this problem, the Neuro-Dynamic Programming (NDP) approach is proposed by Bertsekas and Tsitsiklis (1996). To get the solution of seriously nonlinear process control, the interest in NDP approach is enlarged and NDP algorithm is applied to diverse areas such as retailing, finance, inventory management, communication networks, etc. and it has been extended to chemical engineering parts. In the NDP approach, we select the optimal control input policy to minimize the value of cost which is calculated by the sum of current stage cost and future stages cost starting from the next state. The cost value is related with a weight square sum of error and input movement. During the calculation of optimal input policy, if the approximate cost function by using simulation data is utilized with Bellman iteration, the burden of calculation can be relieved and the curse of dimensionality problem of DP can be overcome. It is very important issue how to construct the cost-to-go function which has a good approximate performance. The neural network is one of the eager learning methods and it works as a global approximator to cost-to-go function. In this algorithm, the training of neural network is important and difficult part, and it gives significant effect on the performance of control. To avoid the difficulty in neural network training, the lazy learning method like k-nearest neighbor method can be exploited. The training is unnecessary for this method but requires more computation time and greater data storage. The pH neutralization process has long been taken as a representative benchmark problem of nonlin ar chemical process control due to its nonlinearity and time-varying nature. In this study, the NDP algorithm was applied to pH neutralization process. At first, the pH neutralization process control to use NDP algorithm was performed through simulations with various approximators. The global and local approximators are used for NDP calculation. After that, the verification of NDP in real system was made by pH neutralization experiment. The control results by NDP algorithm was compared with those by the PI controller which is traditionally used, in both simulations and experiments. From the comparison of results, the control by NDP algorithm showed faster and better control performance than PI controller. In addition to that, the control by NDP algorithm showed the good results when it applied to the cases with disturbances and multiple set point changes.