Creating autonomous robots that can assist humans in situations of daily life is a great challenge for machine learning. While this aim has been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and the cognitive sciences, we have yet to achieve the first step of creating robots that can accomplish a multitude of different tasks, triggered by environmental context or higher level instruction. Despite the wide range of machine learning problems encountered during the automatic acquisition of new abilities for robots, we have yet to fulfill the promise that modern learning approaches offer in this context. Creating complex learning systems that endow robots with the ability to autonomously learn new skills serves both as source of new ideas and benchmark for machine learning approaches. It may among the most promising ways to take robots out of the research labs and bring them into real-world environments. Specific objectives are:

  1. Bring robot learning problems to the attention of the machine learning community!
  2. Efficient, scalable skill learning approaches based on model learning, imitation learning, apprenticeship learning, reinforcement learning.
  3. Complex motor learning tasks requiring hierarchical structuring.
  4. Application in high-dimensional, anthropomorphic robotics in real-time.

The goal of this thematic programme, funded by PASCAL2, is to foster such interactions by organizing a series of workshops at robotics as well as machine learning venues. These workshops aim to bring together people that are interested in robotics as a source and inspiration for new Machine Learning challenges, or which work on Machine Learning methods as a new approach to robotics challenges.

Concurrently, the thematic programme also provides the opportunity to apply for external funding of workshops in agreement with the scope of the programme.

Upcoming Events:

  1. Kick-Off of the EU Project ComPLACS
  2. ICML 2011 Workshop on New Developments in Imitation Learning


The thematic programme (TP) provides the opportunity for researchers (independently of their association with PASCAL2) to apply for workshop funding, if the topic of the proposed workshop is in agreement with the scope of the TP. Please note, however, that only in exceptional cases full workshop expenses can be covered through the TP, i.e., other sources of funding are mandatory. To submit an application for funding, please send a PDF to jrpeters (at) tuebingen.mpg.de, containing the following material:

  1. Topic of and motivation for the proposed workshop (one page maximum)
  2. Workshop organization committee
  3. Venue & dates
  4. Preliminary schedule
  5. Invited speakers (if already available)
  6. Itemized funding requests
  7. List of other funding sources (if already available)

Please note that preference will be given to workshop proposals that emphasize open discussions rather than organizing mini-conferences!


PASCAL2 is a Network of Excellence funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Program. It stands for "Pattern Analysis, Statistical modelling and ComputAtional Learning 2", and unites European research groups with the purpose of advancing the state-of-the-art and promoting awareness of machine learning methods across scientific communities.


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