M2 internship : Non-stationary and robust Reinforcement Learning methodologies for drones detection

M2 internship : Non-stationary and robust Reinforcement Learning methodologies for drones detection

Date limite de candidature : 15/01/2024
Date de début : 01/02/2024
Date de fin : 30/09/2024

Pôle : Signaux et statistiques
Type de poste : Stage
Contact : FORTUNATI Stefano (stefano.fortunati@l2s.centralesupelec.fr)

la fiche

M2 research internship proposal

Non-stationary and robust Reinforcement Learning methodologies for
drones detection

Internship supervisors:

Leïla Gharsalli, EC IPSA, leila.gharsalli@ipsa.fr .

Stefano Fortunati, EC IPSA/L2S, stefano.fortunati@l2s.centralesupelec.fr .

Guest institution:

Laboratoire des signaux et syst`emes (L2S), Bˆat IBM, Rue Alfred Kastler, 91400 Orsay.

Important dates:

Deadline for the submission of candidature: until mid-January,

Duration of the stage: from 4 to 6 months,

Period of the stage: from February to September 2024,

1 Description

Reinforcement Learning (RL) methodologies are currently adopted in different context requiring
sequential decision-making tasks under uncertainty [1]. The RL paradigm is based on the
perception-action cycle, characterized by the presence of an agent that senses and explores
the unknown environment, tracks the evolution of the system state and intelligently adapts its
behavior in order to fulfill a specific mission. This is accomplished through a sequence of actions
aiming at optimizing a pre-assigned performance metric (reward).

Despite of their wide applicability, classical RL algorithms are based on a cumbersome as-
sumption: the stationarity of the environment, i.e. the statistical and physical characterization
of the scenario, is assumed to be time-invariant. This assumption is clearly violated in surveil-
lance application, where the position and the number of targets, along with the statistical
characterization of the disturbance may change over time. To overcome this limitation and
include the non-stationarity in the RL framework, both theoretical and application-oriented
non-stationary approaches have been proposed recently in the RL literature (e.g. [2,3]). The
application of these non-stationary-based line of research to robust radar detection problems
has been investigated in [4–6]. Moreover, a PhD project has been also founded by IPSA to
develop original non-stationary RL detection algorithm.

The aim of this internship is then to support and complete the ongoing research activity
by testing and validating the non-stationary RL algorithms on several realistic scenarios where
the radar acts as an agent that continuously senses the unknown environment (i.e., targets
and disturbance) and consequently optimizes transmitted waveforms in order to maximize the
probability of detection (PD) by focusing the energy in specific range-angle cells. Due to their
crucial strategical interest, particular attention will be devoted to scenarios containing drones.

2 Mission

In coordination with the PhD student working on this project, the intern will firstly review the
relevant existing literature on stationary and non-stationary RL methodologies as well as on
radar multi-target detection in order to better understand both the scientific and application
context of this work. Consequently, the intern will propose several realistic scenarios related to
target detection surveillance applications to be tested. For these test cases, particular attention
will be given to the abstract notions of agent, actions, states and reward that will be specialized
in the radar detection framework [5,6]. The non-stationarity of the environment will be charac-
terized by variation of the the number and Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of targets/sources to be
detected along with the statistical characterization of the disturbance. Finally, the validation of
the algorithmic solution obtained by the proposed advanced RL methodologies will allow to fo-
cus on a much more specific challenging problem, highly non-stationary and physically variable:
the detection of drones.

Required profile:

Master 2 or equivalent in machine learning / applied mathematics / statistical signal processing
or any related field.


L2S Laboratory (Laboratoire des signaux et syst`emes,UMR8506) – Modeling and Estimation
Group (GME) in the Signals and Statistics group.


6 months starting from February 2024.


[1] R. S. Sutton and A. G. Barto, Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction. The MIT Press,
second ed., 2018.

[2] E. Lecarpentier and E. Rachelson, “Non-stationary markov decision processes, a worst-case
approach using model-based reinforcement learning,” Advances in neural information pro-
cessing systems, vol. 32, 2019.

[3] S. Padakandla, K. J. Prabuchandran, and S. Bhatnagar, “Reinforcement learning algorithm
for non-stationary environments,” Applied Intelligence, vol. 50, p. 3590?3606, 2020.

[4] S. Fortunati, L. Sanguinetti, F. Gini, M. S. Greco, and B. Himed, “Massive MIMO radar for
target detection,” IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 68, pp. 859–871, 2020.

[5] A. M. Ahmed, A. A. Ahmad, S. Fortunati, A. Sezgin, M. S. Greco, and F. Gini, “A rein-
forcement learning based approach for multitarget detection in massive MIMO radar,” IEEE
Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, vol. 57, no. 5, pp. 2622–2636, 2021.

[6] F. Lisi, S. Fortunati, , M. S. Greco, and F. Gini, “Enhancement of a state-of-the-art RL-
based detection algorithm for Massive MIMO radars,” IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and
Electronic Systems (accepted), 2022