CS81 — Adaptive Robotics
Spring 2012

Goals | Grading | Paper Summaries | Schedule | Final projects

Class information

Room: Science Center 252
Section 1: T, TH 1:15–2:30pm, Lab F 2:00–3:30
Section 2: T, TH 2:40–3:55pm, Lab F 3:30–5:00
Professor: Lisa Meeden
Office: Science Center 243
Phone: 328-8565


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 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


Paper Summaries

Read all of the papers for the week prior to class on Tuesday. Bring a typed summary of the papers with you to class on Tuesday. You will turn this in at the end of class on Tuesday. I will write comments on it and return it to you at the start of class on Thursday.

For each paper include the following:

Each Thursday we will create a summary of our discussion for that week on a wiki page: Section 1 and Section 2. The first time you go to the wiki page for your section you'll need to register. You will then be sent a password that you can use to login. Change this password by updating your profile.


1 Jan 17   Introduction and Neural computation
  • Empirical Research from Empirical Methods for Artificial Intelligence, Paul Cohen (1995) pages 1-8
  • A Neural Network Primer from Computational Developmental Psychology, Thomas Schultz (1995) pages 1-36, pages 37-48
Lab 1: Neural Network Brains for Robots
Jan 19  
2 Jan 24   Evolutionary robotics Lab 2: Scribbler robot
Jan 26 Drop/Add ends (Jan 27)
3 Jan 31   NEAT and Novelty search Lab 3: Evolving with NEAT
Feb 02  
4 Feb 07   Developmental robotics Lab 4: Novelty search
Feb 09  
5 Feb 14   Segmentation and Categorization Lab 5: Unsupervised categorization
Feb 16  
6 Feb 21   Intrinsic motivation Lab 6: Intrinsic motivation
Feb 23  
7 Feb 28   Reinforcement learning None
Mar 01  

Mar 06

Spring Break

Mar 08

8 Mar 13   Grounding language Lab 7: Controlling physical robots
Mar 15  
9 Mar 20   Social interaction Final project
Mar 22 Last day to declare CR/NC or W (Mar 23)
10 Mar 27   Group behavior Discuss project proposals
Mar 29  
11 Apr 03   Implementing imitation Work on final project
Apr 05  
12 Apr 10   Checkpoint Demonstrations
Apr 12  
13 Apr 17   Work on final project
Apr 19  
14 Apr 24   Presentations section 1
  1. Adrien, Danny, Sam
  2. Catie, Stella
  3. Mark, Steve
Presentations section 2
  1. Temple
  2. Celia, Lisa
  3. Dasol, Emily
Presentations section 1
  1. David W., John
  2. Kristen, Peter
Presentations section 2
  1. Dylan, Greg, Jessi
  2. Alex B., Seth
Apr 26   Presentations section 1
  1. Taylor
  2. Abigail, Bernie
  3. David D., Kenny
Presentations section 2
  1. Abel, Alex C.
  2. Emanuel
  3. Nick, Phil

Final Projects