Transfer Learning Approach for the Design of Basic Control Loops in Wastewater Treatment Plants

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The incursion of the Industry 4.0 paradigm and the Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) is changing the way as the industrial systems are conceived and controlled. Now, it is more common to talk about data-driven methods either supporting conventional industrial control strategies, or acting as the control itself. Thus, one can find that in the last years it is more common to find control systems which are purely based on data leaving aside the highly complex mathematical models. However, data-driven models and ANNs have to be correctly trained in order to offer a good performance and therefore, be contemplated as the core part of a control strategy. This can become a time-demanding and tedious process. For that reason, Transfer Learning (TL) techniques can be adopted to ease the conception, design and training processes of the data-based and ANNs methods, since the efforts have to be mainly focused on training a unique net which will be then transferred into the other scenarios. In that sense, we present here a TL approach to design and implement the whole control of a Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). First, the control of the quickest dynamics under control is performed by means of a Long Short-Term Memory cell (LSTM) based Proportional Integral (PI) controller (LSTM-based PI). Once the LSTM is trained and tested, its knowledge will be transferred into the remaining WWTP control loops. In that way, an ease and reduction in the time involved in the design and training of the control as well as in its complexity is achieved. Results have shown a twofold achievement: (i) the LSTM-based PI achieves an improvement of the control performance with respect to a conventional PI controller around a 93.56% and a 99.07% in terms of the Integrated Absolute (IAE) and Integrated Squared (ISE) errors between the desired measurement and the obtained one, respectively, and (ii) the LSTM-based PI controller achieves an average improvement in the IAE and ISE around a 9.55% and 15.25%, respectively, when it is transferred into a different WWTP control loop.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation, ETFA
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Industrial Control
  • Long Short-Term Memory cells
  • Proportional Integral Controller
  • Transfer Learning
  • Wastewater Treatment Plants


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