Robotics: Science and Systems IX

Incremental Block Cholesky Factorization for Nonlinear Least Squares in Robotics

Lukas Polok, Viorela Ila, Marek Solony, Pavel Smrz, Pavel Zemcik


Efficiently solving nonlinear least squares (NLS) problems is crucial for many applications in robotics. In online applications, solving the associated nolinear systems every step may become very expensive. This paper introduces online, incremental solutions, which take full advantage of the sparse-block structure of the problems in robotics. In general, the solution of the nonlinear system is approximated by incrementally solving a series of linearized problems. The most computationally demanding part is to assemble and solve the linearized system at each iteration. In our solution, this is mitigated by incrementally updating the factorized form of the linear system and changing the linearization point only if needed. The incremental updates are done using a resumed factorization only on the parts affected by the new information added to the system at every step. The sparsity of the factorized form directly affects the efficiency. In order to obtain an incremental factorization with persistent reduced fill-in, a new incremental ordering scheme is proposed. Furthermore, the implementation exploits the block structure of the problems and offers efficient solutions to manipulate block matrices, including a highly efficient Cholesky factorization on sparse block matrices. In this work, we focus our efforts on testing the method on SLAM applications, but the applicability of the technique remains general. The experimental results show that our implementation outperforms the state of the art SLAM implementations on all tested datasets.



    AUTHOR    = {Lukas Polok AND Viorela Ila AND Marek Solony AND Pavel Smrz AND Pavel Zemcik}, 
    TITLE     = {Incremental Block Cholesky Factorization for Nonlinear Least Squares in Robotics}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2013}, 
    ADDRESS   = {Berlin, Germany}, 
    MONTH     = {June},
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2013.IX.042}