Online Bayesian Meta-Learning for Cognitive Tracking Radar

by   Charles E. Thornton, et al.

A key component of cognitive radar is the ability to generalize, or achieve consistent performance across a broad class of sensing environments, since aspects of the physical scene may vary over time. This presents a challenge for learning-based waveform selection approaches, since transmission policies which are effective in one scene may be highly suboptimal in another. One way to address this problem is to bias a learning algorithm strategically by exploiting high-level structure across tracking instances, referred to as meta-learning. In this work, we develop an online meta-learning approach for waveform-agile tracking. This approach uses information gained from previous target tracks to speed up and enhance learning in new tracking instances. This results in sample-efficient learning across a class of finite state target channels by exploiting inherent similarity across tracking scenes, attributed to common physical elements such as target type or clutter. We formulate the online waveform selection problem in the framework of Bayesian learning, and provide prior-dependent performance bounds for the meta-learning problem using PAC-Bayes theory. We present a computationally feasible posterior sampling algorithm and study the performance in a simulation study consisting of diverse scenes. Finally, we examine the potential performance benefits and practical challenges associated with online meta-learning for waveform-agile tracking.


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