[robotics-worldwide] [meetings] PhD School on AI and Robotics

Kanna Rajan Kanna.Rajan at mbari.org
Wed Sep 25 06:52:51 PDT 2013

 First Örebro Winter School on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

               Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
                      December 9-13, 2013


The fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics were strongly
connected in the early days of AI, but have since diverged.  Today,
and with few exceptions, they are regarded as separate fields, with
separate communities and scientific traditions.  Typical graduate
student curricula concentrate on AI or on robotics, but rarely on
both.  Students in one area are seldom aware of the concepts, methods,
and achievements in the other one.  This separation is often
exacerbated by the barriers among traditional academic disciplines.

Despite this separation, many now feel that the two fields ought to be
brought together towards the development of fully integrated
intelligent robots.  In particular, there is a growing consensus in
the robotics community that the next quantum leap in robotics will
come by incorporating capabilities which lay at the core of AI, like
knowledge representation and reasoning, action planning, learning and
adaptation, and human-robot interaction.

This Winter School aims at filling this educational gap, and creating
the next generation of researchers who will realize integrated
intelligent robots.  These researchers should be familiar with the
methods in the two fields, and should be able to work across their
traditional boundaries.  They should combine theoretical insights from
both areas with practical understanding of physical robotic systems.
As an example, one such researcher might push the state of the art in
semantic maps in robotics by leveraging the rich tradition on
knowledge representation in AI.

This Winter School will provide graduate students in AI and in
Robotics a unique training and human experience.  Students will be
exposed to technologies at the forefront of research in AI and in
Robotics, and will apply some of these through exercises on real
robots.  They will have the opportunity to discuss their research work
with top level scholars as well as other students, and to extend their


The School will run for one week, Monday to Friday, December 9-13, and
will offer a mixture of traditional lectures and innovative features,

o Students will be given an opportunity to present their experience
 and research topic to everyone.

o There will be two day-long sessions on specific topics, complemented
 by hands-on exercises on real robots.

o There will be a final round table with a selection of international
 scientists, open to the students, to discuss the integration of AI
 and Robotics.

Students will be assigned preparatory work to be done before the
school.  This will ensure that all students are sufficiently familiar
with basic tools (e.g., ROS, the Robot Operating System) and theories
needed to fully leverage lectures and the exercises.  Assignments will
be made in groups that mix students from different backgrounds.

Ample room will be provided during the School for group discussions,
interactions between students and teachers, and social activities.


o Automated Constraint-based Planning and Execution for the Real World
 Full day session with hands-on exercises
 - Dr Kanna Rajan, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Inst (MBARI), California
 - Dr Frederic Py, MBARI, California
 - Dr Federico Pecora, University of Orebro, Sweden

o Knowledge Representation and Reasoning in Robotics
 Full day session with hands-on exercises
 - Prof Daniele Nardi, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Italy
 - Dr Guglielmo Gemignani, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Italy

o Robots and the Internet
 Teacher: Dr Moritz Tenorth, University of Bremen, Germany

o Towards Focused Reasoning in Robotics
 Teacher: Prof Joachim Hertzberg, University of Osnabruck, Germany

o Robots with Humans
 Teacher: Dr Rachid Alami, LAAS/CNRS Toulouse, France

o Artificial Cognition and Robotics
 Teacher: Prof David Vernon, University of Skovde, Sweden


PhD students from any institution in any part of the world can apply
to the School.  Applications by motivated early-stage postdocs are
also welcome.  Applicants are not expected to have any specific
previous experience in the above topics, but they are expected to have
a strong background in robotics or in artificial intelligence, along
with the curiosity and drive in exploring the integration between the
two.  Applications by women and minorities are strongly encouraged.

The total number of participants is limited to 30.  To apply for
admission, send the following material as a single ZIP file:

- a full CV, specifying the start date of the PhD
- a 1/2 page description of the PhD thesis topic
- a recommendation letter by the PhD advisor
- a transcript of records of the BSc and MSc courses
- a motivation letter: what do you expect to gain from the school,
 and what experience you will bring to the school, not to exceed 1 page

Applications must be received by October 25, 2013.  Late applications
will not be processed.  Admission decisions will be mailed on November
4, 2013.  Quality and motivation of the applicant will be the main
selection criteria; field, gender, and geographical balance will be
considered all other things being equal.

There is no registration fee.  Admitted students will be offered
accommodation in shared rooms, course material, lunches and social
dinner.  All other costs, including transportation, will need to be
covered by the student or her/his sponsor


This School is fully supported by Orebro University, Sweden, through a
special strategic grant.


o Chair:
 Alessandro Saffiotti, Orebro University, Orebro, Sweden

o Advisory committee:
 Joachim Hertzberg, University of Osnabruck, Germany
 Daniele Nardi, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Italy
 Kanna Rajan, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, California

o Secretariat: 
 Monica Wettler, Orebro University, Orebro, Sweden


Oct 25, 2013: Deadline for applying to the school (strict)
Nov  4, 2013: Admission decisions mailed
Dec  9, 2013: School starts
Dec 14, 2013: School ends




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