Reactive control of a two-body point absorber using reinforcement learning

E. Anderlini, D.I.M. Forehand, E. Bannon, Q. Xiao, M. Abusara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


In this article, reinforcement learning is used to obtain optimal reactive control of a two-body point absorber. In particular, the Q-learning algorithm is adopted for the maximization of the energy extraction in each sea state. The controller damping and stiffness coefficients are varied in steps, observing the associated reward, which corresponds to an increase in the absorbed power, or penalty, owing to large displacements. The generated power is averaged over a time horizon spanning several wave cycles due to the periodicity of ocean waves, discarding the transient effects at the start of each new episode. The model of a two-body point absorber is developed in order to validate the control strategy in both regular and irregular waves. In all analysed sea states, the controller learns the optimal damping and stiffness coefficients. Furthermore, the scheme is independent of internal models of the device response, which means that it can adapt to variations in the unit dynamics with time and does not suffer from modelling errors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-658
Number of pages9
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date24 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018


  • reinforcement learning
  • Q-learning
  • reactive control
  • point absorber
  • wave energy converter


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