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Keynote Speakers
Luc Steels

Sony Computer Science Lab Paris
AI lab Vrije Universiteit Brussel

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Since its beginning in the late nineties, the RoboCup challenge has been an enormously stimulating impetus to research and development in robotics, particularly in hardware, sensori-motor intelligence, planning, and multi-agent interaction. In this talk I reflect on what is needed to push robotics towards higher level forms of intelligence and particularly human language like interaction. The 'machine interface' concept of human-robot or robot-robot communication clearly does not work very well. Instead, we need to understand how to achieve flexible, robust, adaptive and open-ended communication. Research is not only needed on core language processing (parsing and production) as well as speech recognition and synthesis, but above all on mechanisms for conceptualizing reality to conceive and interpret meaning. I will present a framework for this research based on the concept of a language game, and demonstrate recent research results using humanoid robots.


Luc Steels is one of the pioneers of European AI. He founded in 1983 the AI Laboratory of the University of Brussels (VUB) after studies in linguistics (at the University of Antwerp) and Artificial Intelligence (at MIT). In the early nineteen eighties, he founded the Belgian AI association, was a member of the first board of ECCAI, co-founder of
AI Communications (the premier ECAI journal), and chairman of the ECAI conference in Brighton (1986). In the 1980's he was particularly active in expert systems research (see e.g. his 'Components of Expertise' paper in AI Magazine, 1999) before breaking new ground in the nineties with behavior-based robotics (see e.g.  Steels and Brooks (1995) The Artificial Life Route to Artificial Intelligence). In 1996 he founded and became director of the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris.  The past decade his work has focused on developing experiments in which humanoid robots autonomously develop human language like communication systems (cf. invited talk at IJCAI-2009). Most recent publications can be found in 'Steels, L. (ed.) (2011) Experiments in Cultural Language Evolution. John Benjamins Pub.co, Amsterdam).

Dieter Fox

Associate Professor
Department of Computer Science & Engineering
University of Washington

RGB-D Cameras: Challenges and Opportunities


RGB-D cameras are a new breed of vision systems that provide per pixel color and depth information at reasonably high resolution. Gaming and entertainment applications such as the Microsoft Kinect system resulted in the mass production of RGB-D cameras at extremely low cost, also making them available for a wide range of robotics applications.  The combination of color with dense depth information provided by RGB-D cameras has the potential to drastically improve robotic capabilities to perceive and interact with people and environments.  In this talk, I will discuss challenges and opportunities arising from the use of depth cameras in robotic applications.  I will also provide an overview of our recent work in dense 3D mapping, object modeling and recognition, and manipulation.


Dieter Fox is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he heads the UW Robotics and State Estimation Lab. From 2009 to 2011, he was also Director of the Intel Labs Seattle, a research lab with close ties to the University of Washington. Dieter obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Bonn, Germany.  Before going to UW, he spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the CMU Robot Learning Lab.  Fox's research is in artificial intelligence, with a focus on state estimation applied to robotics and activity recognition. He has published over 100 technical papers and is co-author of the text book "Probabilistic Robotics". He is a fellow of the AAAI and received several best paper awards at major robotics and AI conferences. He is also an editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and was program co-chair of the 2008 AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

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