T, TH 9:55–11:10am SCI 181
F 2:15–3:45 SCI 252
F 4:00–5:30 SCI 252
Professor: Lisa Meeden
Science Center 243
This seminar will explore the topic of adaptive robotics with a
focus on developmental robotics, a newly emerging paradigm of
research. The goal of developmental robotics is to create intelligent
robots by allowing them to go through a developmental process, rather
than being directly programmed to solve a particular task. By endowing
a robot with an appropriate initial control architecture and adaptive
mechanisms, it can learn through interactions with the world,
developing self-organized knowledge about itself and its
environment. We will be studying the following sorts of questions:
What should be innate in the robot? What adaptive mechanisms are
needed? What motivates the robot to act?
Goals for the course
Learn how to test, debug, and verify the correctness of programs that implement machine learning algorithms.
Learn how to think like a computer science researcher:
Analyze and critically discuss technical, research papers both in
writing and in class.
Understand the fundamental questions in a research field
and be able to analyze different approaches to answering these
Formulate and evaluate a research question in a technical field by
completing a substantial project.
Relate your project to prior research via a review of related literature.
Orally present a clear and accessible summary of your project.
Write a coherent conference-style paper describing and
evaluating your project.
- Class Participation and Paper Responses: 25%
Each week we
will discuss papers in a seminar style. This is not a lecture-based
course. The class as a whole will generate the course content, and you
need to be present to contribute. Doing a close reading of
the assigned papers and writing responses and questions prior to each
class is essential to preparing for a lively and informed discussion.
- Labs: 30%
During the first half of the semester we
will focus on implementing and experimenting with the models that we
are reading about in the primary literature. In the second half of
the semester we will use lab time to make progress on the
- Project: 45%
You will design a project
related to adaptive robotics. You are strongly encouraged to work
with a partner.
Checkpoint demonstration 5%
Each class meeting will focus on one paper. Prepare for class by
reading the assigned paper and writing a brief response (no more than
one page in length). Your response should be typed and printed, and
will be handed in at the end of class. Your response should include:
- A one paragraph overview that describes the paper's main points.
- At least three questions or issues that we can discuss during
class. These might include questions of clarification, such as:
But should also include bigger picture issues, such as:
- What is the meaning of some specific terminology? Though you
should try to investigate this on your own as well.
- How does a particular algorithm work? Why is a certain step of an
- Clarify what is being shown in a particular figure or table in the paper.
- In what ways does the mechanism described seem like a good tool for
doing adaptive robotics? What are its advantages/disadvantages?
- Do the paper's conclusions logically follow from the data provided?
- How do the paper's mechanisms and conclusions relate to previous
papers that we have read?
- What follow up experiments should be done and why?
||TOPIC & READING
|1 || |
| ||Introduction ||1: Scribbler Robot |
|2 || |
| ||Neural Networks ||2: Robot Simulator |
Drop/Add ends (Sep 11)
|3 || |
| ||Evolving Neural Networks ||3: Evolving neural network controllers |
|4 || |
| ||Novelty search ||4: Implementing Novelty Search |
|5 || |
| ||Developmental Encodings ||5: Applying Novelty Search |
|6 || |
| ||Intrinsic Motivation ||None |
| || |
|7 || |
| ||Unsupervised learning ||Project |
|8 || |
| ||Reinforcement learning ||Discuss project proposal |
Project proposal due
|9 || |
| ||Cooperation ||Continue project |
Last day to declare CR/NC (Nov 06)
|10 || |
| ||Deep learning ||Prepare for checkpoint |
|11 || |
| ||Checkpoint demonstration schedule ||Prepare for presentation and begin paper |
|12 || |
| ||CS Research Talks ||None |
|13 || |
Project work day in lab
|Project presentation schedule || |
|14 || |