Physically Invertible System Identification for Monitoring System Edges with Unobservability

Jingyi Yuan, Yang Weng

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Nowadays, the data collected in physical/engineering systems allows various machine learning methods to conduct system monitoring and control, when the physical knowledge on the system edge is limited and challenging to recover completely. Solving such problems typically requires identifying forward system mapping rules, from system states to the output measurements. However, the forward system identification based on digital twin can hardly provide complete monitoring functions, such as state estimation, e.g., to infer the states from measurements. While one can directly learn the inverse mapping rule, it is more desirable to re-utilize the forward digital twin since it is relatively easy to embed physical law there to regularize the inverse process and avoid overfitting. For this purpose, this paper proposes an invertible learning structure based on designing parallel paths in structural neural networks with basis functionals and embedding virtual storage variables for information preservation. For such a two-way digital twin modeling, there is an additional challenge of multiple solutions for system inverse, which contradict the reality of one feasible solution for the current system. To avoid ambiguous inverse, the proposed model maximizes the physical likelihood to contract the original solution space, leading to the unique system operation status of interest. We validate the proposed method on various physical system monitoring tasks and scenarios, such as inverse kinematics problems, power system state estimation, etc. Furthermore, by building a perfect match of a forward-inverse pair, the proposed method obtains accurate and computation-efficient inverse predictions, given observations. Finally, the forward physical interpretation and small prediction errors guarantee the explainability of the invertible structure, compared to standard learning methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMachine Learning and Knowledge Discovery in Databases - European Conference, ECML PKDD 2022, Proceedings
EditorsMassih-Reza Amini, Stéphane Canu, Asja Fischer, Tias Guns, Petra Kralj Novak, Grigorios Tsoumakas
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9783031264214
StatePublished - 2023
Event22nd Joint European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases, ECML PKDD 2022 - Grenoble, France
Duration: Sep 19 2022Sep 23 2022

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume13718 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference22nd Joint European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases, ECML PKDD 2022


  • Inverse system identification
  • Invertible neural network
  • System edge
  • System unobservability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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