Cognitive Robotics

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The following are last minute news you should be aware of ;-)

 27/02/2018: Course starts today!

Course Aim & Organization

This course addresses the methodological aspects of Cognitive Robotics. Cognitive Robotics is about endowing robots and embodied agents with intelligent behaviour by designing and deploying a processing architecture making them apt to deliberate, learn, and reason about how to behave in response to complex goals in a complex world. Perception and action, and how to model them in neural and symbolic representations are therefore the core issues to address. Inspiring models of Cognitive Robotics arise from different disciplines: the neural architectures from neuroscience, the basic behaviours from ethology, motivations and emotions from psychology, the multirobot behaviour from sociology. Those models could be implemented in terms of formal logic, probabilistic, and neural models turning into embodied computational agents.


The course is composed by a blending of theory and practice lectures from the course teacher and the teaching assistants (in order of appearance):

Course Program and Teaching Material

The course comprises theoretical lectures (30h regarding 1-3) and practical sessions (20h regarding 4-5):

  • Cognitive Robotics introduction
    • Cognition and the sense-plan-act architecture
    • Deliberative, reactive, and hybrid approaches
  • Deliberative systems for cognitive robots
    • Symbolic planning and PDDL
  • Bioinspired controllers for autonomous robots
    • Behavior based architectures
    • Neural networks and learning
  • Human-Robot interaction
    • Non verbal human robot interaction
    • (Natural language processing)

Detailed course schedule

A detailed schedule of the course can be found here; topics are just indicative while days and teachers are correct up to some last minute change (they will be notified to you by email).

Note: Lecture timetable interpretation
* On Tuesday, in V.S7-A, starts at 08:15, ends at 10:15
* On Friday, in V.S7-A, starts at 10:15, ends at 13:15
Date Day Time Room Teacher Topic
27/02/2018 Tuesday 08:15 - 10:15 V.S7-A Matteo Matteucci Course Introduction, Robotics and Cognitive Robotics
02/03/2018 Friday 10:15 - 13:15 V.S7-A Matteo Matteucci Cognitive architectures: Deliberative vs Reactive
06/03/2018 Tuesday 08:15 - 10:15 -- -- -- No Lecture --
09/03/2018 Friday 10:15 - 13:15 V.S8-A Matteo Matteucci Cognitive architectures: Deliberative vs Reactive
09/05/2017 Tuesday 08:15 - 10:15 V.S8-A Andrea Bonarini Non verbal human-robot interaction
12/05/2017 Friday 10:15 - 13:15 V.S8-A Andrea Bonarini Non verbal human-robot interaction
16/05/2017 Tuesday 08:15 - 10:15 V.S8-A Andrea Bonarini Non verbal human-robot interaction
12/05/2017 Friday 10:15 - 13:15 V.S8-A Andrea Bonarini Non verbal human-robot interaction

Course Evaluation

The course grading is split in a standard written exam and a seminar activity (to be done before the end of the course):

  • Written examination covering the whole program (including seminars) up to 27/32
  • Seminar on ne of the topics of the course graded up to 5/32
  • Final score will be the sum of the two grades up to 32/32

Possible seminar topics will be presented later during the semester. A practical activity, to be discussed with the teacher, can substitute the seminar.

Teaching Material

The course material comprises slides from the teachers and scientific literature, both provided in the following.

Teacher Slides

In the following you can find the lecture slides used by the teacher and the teaching assistants during classes.

Here the lectures about classical cognitive architectures, i.e., deliberative and reactive approaches:

The following are the slides on Neural Networks and Deep Learning:

The following are the slides on Natural Language Processing for Human Robot Interaction:

The following are the slides on Non Verbal Human Robot Interaction:

Students Slides

In the following you can find the slides presented to the class by students as part of their evaluation.

Books and Papers

For some of the following paper I provide the link to the journal website. For the most of them you can access the PDF if you are connected to the polimi network or using the polimi proxy.

  • Simon Russell, Peter Norvig. "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach". Chapter 11: Planning, pages 375-416.Pearson, 2010. [1]
  • Valentino Braitenberg. "Vehicles: Experiments in synthetic psychology". Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984.
  • Rodney A. Brooks. "Elephants don't play chess", Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Volume 6, Issues 1–2, June 1990, Pages 3-15. [2]

Exam Samples and Results

The following are few past exams, do not make any assumption on the topics you should prepare and about the level of details of the questions from these texts, they are not a statistically significan sample from the possible exams texts: