CS81 — Adaptive Robotics
Spring 2009

Goals | Grading | Schedule | Final Projects

Class information

Room: Science Center 252
Time: Tuesday, Thursday 1:15–2:30pm
Professor: Lisa Meeden
Office: Science Center 243
Phone: 328-8565
Office hours: I will always be available Wednesdays 3-5pm, or you can just stop by whenever my door is open.


This seminar will explore the topic of adaptive robotics with a special 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 continual 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



1 Jan 20   Introduction and A Neural Network Primer by Thomas R. Schultz, Chapters 1-2 from Computational Developmental Psychology, MIT Press, 2003.
Jan 22   Lab1: Robots learning with neural networks
2 Jan 27   Trends in Evolutionary Robotics, by Lisa Meeden and Deepak Kumar, Chapter 9 in Soft Computing for Intelligent Robotic Systems, eds. Lakhmi Jain and Toshio Fukuda, Physica-Verlag, 1998.
Jan 29 Drop/Add ends (Jan 30) Lab2: Controlling Aibo, Khepera, and Pioneer robots
3 Feb 03   Competitive coevolution through evolutionary complexification by Kenneth Stanley and Risto Miikkulainen, Journal of Arificial Intelligence Research, vol. 21, 2004.
Feb 05   Lab3: Evolving robot controllers with NEAT
4 Feb 10   Evolving 3D Morphology and Behavior by Competition by Karl Sims, in Artificial Live IV Proceedings, eds. Rodney Brooks and Patti Maes, MIT Press, 1994.
Automatic design and manufacture of robotics lifeforms by Hod Lipson and Jordan Pollack, Nature, Vol. 406, 2000.
Feb 12   Midterm Project
5 Feb 17   Learning and Evolution by Stefano Nolfi and Dario Floreano, Autonomous Robots, vol. 7.1, 1999.
Feb 19   Lab: Continue Midterm Project
6 Feb 24   Introduction to developmental robotics by Lisa Meeden and Douglas Blank, Connection Science, vol 18.2, 2006.
Also read sections 1-3 of next week's paper.
Feb 26   Midterm Project checkpoint demonstration
7 Mar 03   Developmental Robotics: A survey by Max Lungarella, Giorgio Metta, Rolf Pfeifer, and Giulio Sandini, Connection Science, vol. 15.4, 2003.
Mar 05 No class  

Mar 10

Spring Break

Mar 12

8 Mar 17   Intrinsic motivation systems for autonomous mental development by Peirre-Yves Oudeyer, Frederic Kaplan, Verena Hafner, IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, vol. 11.2, 2007.
Mar 19   Lab4: Experimenting with IAC
9 Mar 24   Sensory flow segmentation using a RAVQ by Fredrik Linaker and Lars Niklasson, in Advances in Pattern Recognition, 2000.
Mar 26 Last day to declare CR/NC
or withdraw (Mar 27)
Lab5: Unsupervised categorization
10 Mar 31   Final Project
Apr 02   Developing navagation behavior through self-organizing distinctive state abstraction by Jefferon Provost, Benjamin Kuipers, and Risto Mikkulainen, Connection Science, vol. 18.2, 2006.
A growing neural gas learns topologies by Bernd Fritzke, in Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 7, 1995.
11 Apr 07   An emergent framework for self-motivation in developmental robotics by James Marshall, Douglas Blank, and Lisa Meeden, in the proceedings of The Third International Conference on Development and Learning, 2004.
Apr 09   Final Project checkpoint demonstration
12 Apr 14   Vist by Swat alum John Rieffel
Apr 16   Lab: Work on Final Project
13 Apr 21   Presentations by:
1. Roby
2. Ryan
Apr 23   Presentations by:
1. Alex, Andrew, and Raul
2. Phyo
14 Apr 28   Presentations by:
1. Derek, Erick, and Malcom
2. Amber and Anne Marie
Apr 30 Paper due at 4pm, Seminar Party at 5pm (May 12) Presentations by:
1. Ashley, Maria, and Rachel
2. Madeleine

Final Projects