The International Workshop on Intelligent Autonomous Learning Systems is an annual, invitation-only event centered on advancements in machine learning for robotics and autonomous systems. Its primary objectives include fostering collaboration, encouraging scientific discussions, and enhancing participants' comprehension. Traditionally hosted in the picturesque Kleinwalsertal, Austria, amidst the stunning Alps.

International Workshop of Intelligent Autonomous Learning Systems 2023

Note, Please ensure to read the conference schedule and specific activity requirements before packing for the event.

Quick Facts

Organizers:Kai Ploeger, Kay Hansel, Ali Younes, Snehal Jauhri
Location:Darmst├Ądter Haus and Sporthotel Walliser, Kleinwalsertal, Austria
Dates:13.08.- 20.08.2023


Note, the schedule is subject to change, to optimize the weather during outdoor activites.

Daily Schedule

14/8Monday:Opening session, N&R speed dating, Spotlight #1, Poster session
15/8Tuesday:Spotlight #2, Contributed Talks (partly parallel)
16/8Wednesday:Excursion (Hike or Klettersteig)
17/8Thursday:Spotlight #3-#4, Focus Group
18/8Friday:Focus Group, Group-specific session
19/8Saturday:Career Seminar, Grant planning & proposal writing, Closing session
20/8Sunday:Travel back

Detailed Schedule

Note, there will be 30 minute coffee breaks each morning and afternoon, between sessions.

09 - 10Opening SessionSpotlight #2ExcursionSpotlight #3Focus GroupCareer Seminar: Layer 1 and 2
10 - 11N&R Speed DatingSpotlight #2ExcursionSpotlight #3-#4Focus GroupCareer Seminar: Layer 3
11 - 12N&R Speed DatingSpotlight #2ExcursionSpotlight #4Focus GroupCareer Seminar - Fill this form during Layer 3 when Jan asks you to!
12 - 14LunchLunchExcursionLunchLunchLunch
14 - 15Spotlight #1Contributed TalksExcursionFocus GroupGroup Specific SessionIntroduction to Grant Planning & Proposal Writing by Martins Zaumanis. Great book: Buy here! Useful Materials: 1 2 3
15 - 16Spotlight #1Contributed TalksExcursionFocus GroupGroup Specific SessionPractical Grant Planning & Proposal Writing (Jan)
16 - 17Spotlight #1Contributed TalksExcursionFocus GroupGroup Specific SessionClosing Session
17 - 18Poster SessionContributed TalksExcursionFocus GroupGroup Specific Session

Invited Speakers

Nathan Lepora is a professor of Robotics and AI leading the Dexterous Robotics group at Bristol Robotics Laboratory. With a diverse academic background spanning mathematics, theoretical physics, and computational neuroscience, Nathan's research focuses on natural, artificial, and embodied intelligence in robotics and neuroscience, particularly in perception, learning, interaction, understanding, and manipulation of surroundings. Renowned for his work on robot touch and biomimetic forebrain, his research has garnered media coverage and prestigious awards, including the Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award. With valuable expertise in the interface of computational neuroscience, AI, and robotics, Nathan collaborates with industry leaders such as Ultraleap, Ocado Technology, Google DeepMind, and Shadow Robotics.

Jia-Jie Zhu is a research group leader at the Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics (WIAS) in Berlin. With a strong academic background, J.J. previously served as a postdoctoral researcher in machine learning at the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in T├╝bingen, Germany, and completed his Ph.D. in numerical optimization at the University of Florida. His expertise spans state-of-the-art machine learning, optimization, and large-scale computation, with a specific focus on algorithm development and theoretical exploration. Notably, he and his team have made significant contributions to the field, particularly in robustness theory for machine learning, utilizing computational tools such as optimization algorithms over probability distributions. Their research also delves into the fascinating intersection of large-scale computational algorithms in machine learning/optimization and dynamical systems theory, including (PDE) gradient flows and optimal transport.

Martins Zaumanis has written a book series called Peer Recognized on practical advice for writing impactful research papers, delivering powerful academic presentations, attracting research funding and making your name known on the internet. He will present an overview from his book Write a Winning Research Proposal. In his day job, he is a road pavement scientist at Empa. In his research, he strives to bring sustainability to the core of road construction! To reach this goal, he spends his days studying asphalt recycling, the use of waste materials in road construction and application warm mix asphalt technologies. In 2016, he received the International Road Federation award for the best research project of the year.


Spotlight Talks

The spotlight talks are tutorial sessions led by field experts, providing a clear and informative introduction to a specific research field. These talks aim to acquaint the audience with essential concepts, recent developments, and significant findings in that area of study.

14:00 - 17:00
#1Touch sensing and Processing in RoboticsNathan Lepora (University of Bristol),
Roberto Calandra (TU Dresden)
09:00 - 12:00
#2Optimization and dynamics: from Euclidean gradient descent to Wasserstein gradient flowJ. J. Zhu (WIASS, Berlin)
09:00 - 10:30
#3Hierarchical Reinforcement LearningHerke van Hoof (University of Amsterdam)
10:45 - 12:15
#4Generative Models for Optimization and PlanningJulen Urain (TU Darmstadt)

Contributed Talks

During this session, researchers from different labs present their research, providing insights, methodologies, and findings on specific topics or projects while also receiving feedback from the audience.

Note, there will be two talks in parallel, denoted #1 and #2.

14:00 - 14:30A1Interactive Learning and Generalization of Dynamical Motor PrimitivesRavi Prakash (CoR, TU Delft)
 A2Leveraging Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning and Graph Neural Networks for Distributed Traffic-Aware Routing OptimizationAndreas Boltres (ALR, KIT)
14:35 - 15:05B1Diffusion for Goal Conditioned Imitation LearningMoritz Reuss (IRL, KIT)
 B2Neural Networks as Sparse Gaussian Processes for Sequential LearningAidan Scannell (RL Lab, Aalto)
15:10 - 15:40C1Coherent Soft Imitation LearningJoe Watson (IAS, TU Da)
 C2Simplified Temporal Consistency Reinforcement LearningYi Zhao (RL Lab, Aalto)
15:45 - 16:15D1Search-based Task and Motion PlanningZlatan Ajanovic (CoR, TU Delft)
 D2Reinforcement Learning in Quadruped Robots: Tackling Varied ScenariosQingfeng Yao (RL Lab, Aalto)
16:20 - 16:50E1A Time-Continuous Option FrameworkSamuele Tosatto (IIS, UIBK)
 E2Multi Time Scale World ModelsVaisakh Shaj Kumar (ALR, KIT)
16:55 - 17:25F1Learning Latent Action Representations in Space and Time from DemonstrationsMichael Przystupa (Vision Robotics, UofA)
 F2Imitation Learning for Bimanual Insertion Tasks in MujocoMichael Drolet (IAS, TU Da)
17:30 - 18:00G1Slurm-tastic Adventures on a Cluster: A Roboticist Guide to Dominating the Cluster with Slurm and DockerDaniel Palenicek (IAS, TU Da),
Pascal Klink(IAS, TU Da)
 G2EAGERx: Graph-Based Framework for Sim2real Robot LearningJelle Luijkx (CoR, TU Delft)

Focus Groups

The aim of the focus groups is to expand participants' knowledge by delving into robotics and machine learning topics that are interesting and related but outside their primary research area. Each participant will have the opportunity to gain new insights, collaborate with peers, and spark innovative ideas. In the end, the groups will present their findings through presentations, fostering further discussion among all participants. Open to all. Chair: Ali Younes, Kay Hansel, Kai Ploeger, Snehal Jauhri

Career Seminar

The career seminar facilitates the exchange of experiences and expertise between junior and senior researchers. The seminar culminates with a Q&A session with the PIs, providing an opportunity for participants to seek specific guidance. Its overarching goal is to equip junior researchers with insights and experiences to advance their careers effectively. Open to all. Chair: Jan Peters

Grant Planing & Proposal Writing

Grant planning and proposal writing are crucial in academia as they enable researchers to secure funding for their projects, support their research efforts and expand their scientific knowledge. This seminar will specifically focus on teaching junior researchers how to plan grants and write proposals. Additionally, experiences and expertise will be exchanged between the research groups. Open to all. Chair: Jan Peters

Network and Research (N&R) speed dating

To form new collaborations, participants will be organized into small groups, intentionally aiming to have a diverse and heterogeneous mix of researchers from different labs. Within these groups, pairs of participants will engage in five-minute chats, allowing them to get to know each other. Open to all. Chair: Kay Hansel, Kai Ploeger

Poster Session

Poster session to present research, exchange ideas and get to know each other. The poster session starts before dinner and continues throughout the evening. Open to all. Chair: Kay Hansel, Kai Ploeger

Group-Specific Session

Each group is free to have its own meeting to discuss various internal matters or use these slots freely. Chair: Kay Hansel, Kai Ploeger

Travel Arrangements

Please contact Snehal Jauhri for travel advice.


It is highly recommended to bring with you:

  • Your Laptop: Please bring your laptop as it will be needed during certain sessions
  • Hiking Boots: Since we'll be going for a hike or klettersteig, a sturdy pair of hiking boots is essential. Consider choosing ones that have:
-A proper sole to prevent slipping on wet rocks.
-Ankle support to protect you from twisting.
-Waterproof features to allow you to traverse through mud or small rivers.
-If you do not wear hiking boots, we will not take you to the Klettersteig!
  • Small Backpack (20 - 30l): A convenient backpack will come in handy for carrying your essentials.
  • Refillable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is vital, so don't forget to bring a refillable water bottle.
  • Small Lunch Box: We'll provide a breakfast buffet, and you can pack your lunch in a small box to keep your energy up during the event.
  • Shades and Hat: The sun can be intense, so pack sunglasses and a hat to shield yourself.
  • Sunscreen: To protect your skin from the mountain sun, remember to pack sunscreen.
  • Rain Jacket: While we hope for clear skies, it's best to be prepared. Bring a lightweight rain jacket just in case.
  • Comfortable Clothes: Expect to get a bit wet and dirty during our mountain adventures, so comfortable and durable clothes are recommended.
  • Swimming Suit: There's a possibility of visiting thermal springs or a sauna, so pack a swimming suit if you'd like to take a refreshing dip.