CS378: Autonomous Intelligent Robotics (FRI) -- Fall 2013

CS378: Autonomous Intelligent Robotics (FRI)

Fall 2013

Instructor: Matteo Leonetti
Department of Computer Science

Monday, Wednesday 15:30- 17:00
Classroom: GDC  3.516

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Reminder: the demos and the report for the second assignments are due Monday 11/18

Instructor Contact Information

Office hours: Monday 14:00 - 15:30, or by appointment
Office: GDC 3.418
Email: matteo--AT--cs--DOT--utexas--DOT--edu

Course Requirements

Grades will be based on

  • class participation (10%);
  • written responses to the readings; (10%)
  • preliminary assignments; (50%)
  • a final programming project. (30%)
  • Students should post responses to the readings on the class wiki, under the appropriate heading (i.e. "Week x Readings"). Be sure to post your name and the date with your response! Credit will be based on evidence that you have done the readings carefully. Students should also comment and discuss other student's reading responses on the wiki. The response should include a summary of the reading along with any of the following:

  • Insightful questions;
  • Clarification questions about ambiguities;
  • Comments about the relation of the reading to previous readings;
  • Critiques on the research;
  • Critiques on the writing style or clarity;
  • Thoughts on what you would like to learn about in more detail;
  • Possible extensions or related studies;
  • Thoughts on the paper's importance; and
  • Summaries of the most important things you learned.

  • Assignments

    The first assignment is a literature review. Each student must choose a paper, and prepare a 15 to 20-minute presentation of it. Furthermore, following the references backwards, each student must write a paper of maximum 2 pages reconstructing the line of work that brought to that paper, summarizing the authors' contributions. All papers are due on October 2nd, regardless of when the presentation is given. This assignment is meant to make the students understand how a research line develops, and how to determine what the most influential works are in the field they are interested in.

    The second assignament is a demonstration on the robot, of an implementation halfway through the final project. Specific demonstrations have been discussed with each group. Groups must also hand in a report of the work up to this demo.

    Presentations will be held on Wednesdays every week, and each student must book a slot for their presentation on this page of the wiki (log-in required), on a first come first served basis. If two weeks before a presentation day some slots for that day are still available, I will choose the presenters uniformly at random among those who have not booked a slot yet.


    This course follows Spring 2013 CS378, and you need to have completed at least the first two assignment from that class.  Good programming skills, preferably in C and/or C++.

    To do the catch-up assignments please log into the wiki and start from the "Start here" page.

    Text and Website

    There is no textbook for this course. Instead, relevant research papers will be assigned.


    The class will also make extensive use of a wiki. Reading responses, project updates, and other project information will be posted on the class wiki: http://farnsworth.csres.utexas.edu/bwi/index.php/FRI_Course_2

    Philosophy and Goal

    The foremost goal of this course is to expose the student to the full range of activities required of a real-life computer science researcher. It turns out that computer scientists rarely read textbooks, sit silently in lectures, work on programming assignments with correct and complete answers, or take exams. Rather, they

    This course presents an opportunity for students to help decide whether they would enjoy going on to graduate school and an eventual career as a computer science researcher. In particular, students will be required to read published research papers, write brief reactions to them, participate in class discussions, propose and execute a solution to a challenging open-ended problem, and write about their work. They will be given an opportunity to collaborate with other students on the final project.

    Content Overview

    This course is focused on developing a building wide intelligence (BWI) for the new computer science building. The idea is to have a pervasive intelligence throughout the building, in the form of robots, kiosks, display screens, and cameras. These robots will perform a variety of tasks, such as leading people to their destinations or locating a person in the building.

    The main goal of this course is to complete a small research project, advancing the abilities of the current BWI system.

    Participation in the class discussions will also form a significant part of the grade. Class meetings will consist of discussions based on assigned readings and updates on project progress.

    Academic Dishonesty Policy

    All work ideas, quotes, and code fragments that originate from elsewhere must be cited according to standard academic practice. Students caught cheating will automatically fail the course. If in doubt, look at the departmental guidelines and/or ask.

    Notice about students with disabilities

    The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. To determine if you qualify, please contact the Dean of Students at 471-6529; 471-4641 TTY. If they certify your needs, I will work with you to make appropriate arrangements.

    Notice about missed work due to religious holy days

    A student who misses an examination, work assignment, or other project due to the observance of a religious holy day will be given an opportunity to complete the work missed within a reasonable time after the absence, provided that he or she has properly notified the instructor. It is the policy of the University of Texas at Austin that the student must notify the instructor at least fourteen days prior to the classes scheduled on dates he or she will be absent to observe a religious holy day. For religious holy days that fall within the first two weeks of the semester, the notice should be given on the first day of the semester. The student will not be penalized for these excused absences, but the instructor may appropriately respond if the student fails to complete satisfactorily the missed assignment or examination within a reasonable time after the excused absence.

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