Scalable and Decentralized Algorithms for Anomaly Detection via Learning-Based Controlled Sensing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We address the problem of sequentially selecting and observing processes from a given set to find the anomalies among them. The decision-maker observes a subset of the processes at any given time instant and obtains a noisy binary indicator of whether or not the corresponding process is anomalous. We develop an anomaly detection algorithm that chooses the processes to be observed at a given time instant, decides when to stop taking observations, and declares the decision on anomalous processes. The objective of the detection algorithm is to identify the anomalies with an accuracy exceeding the desired value while minimizing the delay in decision making. We devise a centralized algorithm where the processes are jointly selected by a common agent as well as a decentralized algorithm where the decision of whether to select a process is made independently for each process. Our algorithms rely on a Markov decision process defined using the marginal probability of each process being normal or anomalous, conditioned on the observations. We implement the detection algorithms using the deep actor-critic reinforcement learning framework. Unlike prior work on this topic that has exponential complexity in the number of processes, our algorithms have computational and memory requirements that are both polynomial in the number of processes. We demonstrate the efficacy of these algorithms using numerical experiments by comparing them with state-of-the-art methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-654
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal and Information Processing over Networks
StatePublished - 2023


  • Active hypothesis testing
  • actor-critic algorithm
  • deep learning
  • quickest state estimation
  • reinforcement learning
  • sequential decision-making
  • sequential sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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