CogRob 2008
The 6th International
Cognitive Robotics Workshop
July 21-22, 2008
Patras, Greece
Held at
ECAI 2008

Invited Lectures

Monday July 21, 16:00-17:00 Invited Lecture I

Qualitative Spatio-Temporal Representations and Cognitive Vision
by Tony Cohn
University of Leeds

Abstract: To build an autonomous cognitive agent is a very challenging goal. Crucial to the ultimate attainment of this aim is an ability to perceive, understand, formulate hypotheses and act based on the agent's perceptions. I will discuss work undertaken at Leeds in pursuit of this goal.  A key focus of our work is to integrate quantitative and qualitative modes of representation and to learn as much as possible of any domain specific models required to understand and operate in a specific situation. As one example of our approach, I will show how functional object categories can be learned by mining qualitative spatio-temporal models of behaviour.

Bio: Tony Cohn holds a Personal Chair at the University of Leeds, where he is Professor of Automated Reasoning and served a term as Head of the School of Computing August 1999 – July 2004.  He holds BSc and PhD degrees from the University of Essex where he studied under Pat Hayes. He spent 10 years at the University of Warwick before moving to Leeds in 1990. He now leads a research group working on Knowledge Representation and Reasoning with a particular focus on qualitative spatial/spatio-temporal  reasoning. His current research interests range from theoretical work on spatial calculi and spatial ontologies, to cognitive vision, modelling spatial information in the hippocampus, and integrating utility data recording the location of underground assets. Many of the group’s publications concerning spatial reasoning can be found at He has received substantial funding from a variety of sources including EPSRC, the DTI, the European Union and various industrial sources. Work from the Cogvis project won the British Computer Society Machine Intelligence prize in 2004.  He has been Chairman/President of the UK AI Society SSAISB, the European Coordinating Committee on AI  (ECCAI),  KR inc, the IJCAI Board of Trustees and is Editor-in-Chief of the AAAI Press,  Spatial Cognition and Computation,  and Artificial Intelligence. He was elected a founding Fellow of ECCAI, and is also a Fellow of AAAI, AISB, the BCS, and the IET (formerly the IEE).   He was Programme Chair of the European AI Conference ECAI’94,  KR’98 and COSIT-05,Workshop Chair of IJCAI 1995,  Conference Chair of KR 2000, IJCAI 2003. He was on the judging panel for the British Computer Society Distinguished Dissertation award. Recent invited/keynote talks include 21st Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence - AI-08 ,  Cognitive Robotics’08, Spatial Reasoning and Communication/AISB'07,  the 3rd Summer School on Cognitive Vision,  CIT’04, AISB’04 and KBSC-2004, CADE-19, and the AAAI 2003 Spring Symposium on Foundations and Applications of Spatio-Temporal Reasoning (FASTR), and a lecture series at the  International Spatial Cognition Summer Institute (ISCSI) in 2003 and at the 2004 Australian Logic Summer School,  . He has co-organised two Dagstuhls (05491, 07311), been on many programme committees for workshops and conferences, on the editorial board of DAKE, AI Communications (AICOM), and was Review Co-Editor of the journal Artificial Intelligence; he is currently on the editorial board of the Applied Ontology Journal,  the Journal of Applied Logic and on the Policy Committee of Electronic Transactions on AI (ETAI).  He is a member of the UK EPSRC Peer Review College and of the UK Computing Research Committee (UKCRC), where he presently sits on the Executive Committee, and has been a Director of KR Inc. since 2000.  He was an area co-editor for the UK Government FORESIGHT Cognitive Systems project, and advised the FORESIGHT Intelligent Systems Infrastructure project. He has advised a number of overseas funding agencies, having been a member of two CNRS and two SFI institution review panels, a member of a DFG SFB review panel and an FCT panel, and chair of a programme review panel at NICTA.

Tuesday July 22, 9:00-10:00 Invited Lecture II

Motor Skill Learning for Cognitive Robotics
by Jan Peters
Mak Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen

Abstract: Autonomous robots that can assist humans in situations of daily life have been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and cognitive sciences. A first step towards this goal is to create robots that can learn tasks triggered by environmental context or higher level instruction. However, learning techniques have yet to live up to  this promise as only few methods manage to scale to high-dimensional manipulator or humanoid robots. In this tutorial, we give a general overview on motor skill learning for cognitive robotics using research at ATR, USC, CMU and Max-Planck in order to illustrate the problems in motor skill learning.  For doing so, we discuss task-appropriate representations and algorithms for learning robot motor skills. Among the topics are the learning basic movements or motor primitives by imitation and reinforcement learning, learning rhytmic and discrete movements, fast regression methods for learning inverse dynamics and setups for learning task-space policies. Examples on various robots, e.g., SARCOS DB, the SARCOS Master Arm, BDI Little Dog and a Barrett WAM, are shown and include Ball-in-a-Cup, T-Ball, Juggling, Devil-Sticking, Operational Space Control and many others.

Bio: Jan Peters is a Senior Research Scientist at the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and head of the new Robot Learning Lab (RoLL) in the Schoelkopf Department. Before joining MPI, he received a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, working at the Computational Learning and Motor Control lab with Stefan Schaal, Sethu Vijyakumar and Firdaus Udwadia. He received a M.Sc. in Computer Science and M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Southern California as well as a Diplom-Informatiker from Hagen University and a Diplom-Ingenieur in Electrical Engineering from Munich University of Technology (TU Muenchen).  He has been a visiting researcher at Advanced Telecommunication Research Center (ATR), Kyoto, Japan in 2000 and 2003, a visiting researcher at National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2001 and worked as graduate research assistant at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics of the German Aerospace Research Institute (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany form 1997-2000.  His research interests include robotics, nonlinear control, machine learning, and motor skill learning.