UTCS AI Colloquia - Mohan Sridharan, Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University, "Towards Autonomy in Human-Robot Collaboration," ACE 2.402

Contact Name: 
Karl Pichotta
ACE 2.402
Feb 1, 2013 11:00am - 12:00pm

Signup Schedule: http://apps.cs.utexas.edu/talkschedules/cgi/list_events.cgi

Talk Audience: UTCS Faculty, Grads, Undergrads, Other Interested Parties

Host: Vladimir Lifschitz and Peter Stone

Talk Abstract: Real-world domains characterized by non-deterministic action outcomes and unforeseen dynamic changes frequently make it difficult for robots to process all sensory inputs, model the entire domain or operate without any human feedback. Humans, on the other hand, are unlikely to have the time and expertise to interpret raw sensory inputs or provide elaborate feedback in complex domains. Therefore, a central challenge in robotics research is to enable robots to use sensor inputs to operate autonomously when possible, acquiring and using high-level human feedback based on need and availability.

We seek to enable such autonomy by jointly addressing the associated learning, adaptation and collaboration challenges, exploiting their mutual dependencies to create novel opportunities to address the individual challenges. In this talk, I shall describe the interplay between hierarchical planning and bootstrap learning algorithms that enable one or more robots to: (a) represent, reason with and revise (common sense) domain knowledge (b) adapt learning, sensing and information processing to the task at hand (c) learn models of domain objects based on contextual and appearance-based cues and (d) acquire and use high-level human feedback based on need and availability. I shall present results of evaluating these algorithms in simulation and on robots deployed in indoor and outdoor domains. If time permits, I shall briefly illustrate use of the underlying algorithms in other application domains such as climate science and agricultural irrigation management.

Speaker Bio: Mohan Sridharan is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Texas Tech University. Prior to his current appointment, he was a Research Fellow in the School of Computer Science at University of Birmingham (UK), working on the EU Cognitive Systems (CoSy) project between August 2007 and October 2008. He received his Ph.D. (Aug 2007) in Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr.Sridharan's research interests include machine learning, planning, computer vision and cognitive science, as applied to autonomous mobile robots. Furthermore, he is interested in designing learning and inference algorithms for big data domains characterized by a significant amount of uncertainty.