Sparse Bayesian deep learning for dynamic system identification

Hongpeng Zhou, I. Chahine, Wei Xing Zheng, Wei Pan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


This paper proposes a sparse Bayesian treatment of deep neural networks (DNNs) for system identification. Although DNNs show impressive approximation ability in various fields, several challenges still exist for system identification problems. First, DNNs are known to be too complex that they can easily overfit the training data. Second, the selection of the input regressors for system identification is nontrivial. Third, uncertainty quantification of the model parameters and predictions are necessary. The proposed Bayesian approach offers a principled way to alleviate the above challenges by marginal likelihood/model evidence approximation and structured group sparsity-inducing priors construction. The identification algorithm is derived as an iterative regularised optimisation procedure that can be solved as efficiently as training typical DNNs. Remarkably, an efficient and recursive Hessian calculation method for each layer of DNNs is developed, turning the intractable training/optimisation process into a tractable one. Furthermore, a practical calculation approach based on the Monte-Carlo integration method is derived to quantify the uncertainty of the parameters and predictions. The effectiveness of the proposed Bayesian approach is demonstrated on several linear and nonlinear system identification benchmarks by achieving good and competitive simulation accuracy. The code to reproduce the experimental results is open-sourced and available online.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110489
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Deep neural networks
  • Group sparsity
  • Regularised system identification
  • Sparse Bayesian learning

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