Niklas Funk

Quick Info

Research Interests

Robotics, Reinforcement Learning, Control


Google Scholar Personal Website

Contact Information

Mail. Niklas Funk
TU Darmstadt, FG IAS,
Hochschulstr. 10, 64289 Darmstadt
Office. Room E325, Building S2|02

Niklas Funk joined the Institute for Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS) at TU Darmstadt in September 2020 as a Ph.D. student.

Niklas received his bachelor‘s degree in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, as well as his master’s degree in Robotics, Systems and Control from ETH Zurich. During his studies, he focused on the intersection between machine learning and control and completed several applied projects. He finished off his masters with the thesis – „Learning Event-triggered Control from Data through Joint Optimization“, which was conducted at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems under the supervision of Dominik Baumann and Sebastian Trimpe, and has been awarded with the ETH medal.

Currently, Niklas is working in the broad field of autonomous robotic assembly. On the one hand, he is exploring algorithms enabling combinatorial reasoning and generalization. In particular, his recent research focuses on combining learned graph-based representations with powerful inductive biases and model-based search. On the other hand, he is also interested in developing fine, precise, and dexterous robotic assembly skills, eventually adding tactile feedback.

Research Interests

Reinforcement Learning, Control, Robotics, Graph-based Representations, Tactile Sensing

Key References

Reinforcement Learning and Combinatorial Optimization for Robotic Assembly

  • Funk, N.; Chalvatzaki, G.; Belousov, B.; Peters, J. (2021). Learn2Assemble with Structured Representations and Search for Robotic Architectural Construction, Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL).   Download Article [PDF]   BibTeX Reference [BibTex]
  • Funk, N.; Menzenbach, S.; Chalvatzaki, G.; Peters, J. (2022). Graph-based Reinforcement Learning meets Mixed Integer Programs: An application to 3D robot assembly discovery, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).   Download Article [PDF]   BibTeX Reference [BibTex]
  • Wibranek, B.; Liu, Y.; Funk, N.; Belousov, B.; Peters, J.; Tessmann, O. (2021). Reinforcement Learning for Sequential Assembly of SL-Blocks: Self-Interlocking Combinatorial Design Based on Machine Learning, Proceedings of the 39th eCAADe Conference.   Download Article [PDF]   BibTeX Reference [BibTex]

Dexterous Manipulation / Grasp and Motion Planning

  • Urain, J.; Funk, N; Peters, J. ; Chalvatzaki G (2023). SE(3)-DiffusionFields: Learning smooth cost functions for joint grasp and motion optimization through diffusion, International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA).   Download Article [PDF]   BibTeX Reference [BibTex]
  • Funk, N.; Schaff, C.; Madan, R.; Yoneda, T.; Urain, J.; Watson, J.; Gordon, E.; Widmaier, F; Bauer, S.; Srinivasa, S.; Bhattacharjee, T.; Walter, M.; Peters, J. (2022). Benchmarking Structured Policies and Policy Optimization for Real-World Dexterous Object Manipulation, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 7, 1, pp.478-485.   Download Article [PDF]   BibTeX Reference [BibTex]

Event-triggered Control

Supervised Theses and Projects

YearTypeTogether withStudent(s)Topic
2023Integrated ProjectKay HanselMax Zimmermann, Marius Zöller, Andranik AristakesyanLearn to Play Tangram with Graph-based Reinforcement Learning
2022Master ThesisBoris BelousovPaul-Otto MüllerLearning Interpretable Representations for Visuotactile Sensors
2022Master ThesisBoris BelousovXiangyu XuVisuotactile Grasping From Human Demonstrations
2022Master Thesis Sebastian SzelagMulti-Agent Reinforcement Learning for Assembly
2022Integrated ProjectKay HanselMax Zimmermann, Dominik Marino, Maximilian LangerLearn to Play Tangram with Graph-based Reinforcement Learning
2022Integrated ProjectKay HanselMaximilian LangerLearn to Play Tangram with Graph-based Reinforcement Learning
2022Master ThesisGeorgia ChalvatzakiSimon KiefhaberLeveraging Energy-Based Models for Multi-Object 6D Pose Estimation
2022Bachelor ThesisPascal KlinkLeon MagnusReal-time Object Tracking for Assembly
2022Bachelor Thesis Svenja MenzenbachLeveraging Learned Graph-based Heuristics for efficiently solving the Combinatorics of Assembly
2021Master ThesisBoris BelousovFrederik WegnerLearning Vision-Based Tactile Representations for Robotic Architectural Assembly
2021Integrated ProjectBelousov, B.; Chalvatzaki, G.Jan Emrich, Simon KiefhaberProbabilistic Object Tracking Using Depth Carmera
2021Integrated ProjectBelousov, B.; Chalvatzaki, G.Leon Magnus, Svenja Menzenbach, Max SiebenbornObject Tracking for Robotic Assembly
2021Integrated ProjectBelousov, B.; Chalvatzaki, G.; Wibranek, B.Jan SchneiderArchitectural Assembly: Simulation and Optimization


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