Towards Robust HRI: A Quality Diversity Approach

Assistant Professor Stefanos Nikolaidis, University of Southern California
Chaired by
Dr Harold SOH Soon Hong, Assistant Professor, School of Computing

  19 Oct 2021 Tuesday, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

 via Zoom

The growth of scale and complexity of interactions between humans and robots highlights the need for new computational methods to automatically evaluate novel algorithms and applications. Exploring the diverse scenarios of interaction between humans and robots in simulation can improve understanding of complex HRI systems and avoid potentially costly failures in real-world settings.

In this talk, I propose formulating the problem of automatic scenario generation in HRI as a quality diversity problem, where the goal is not to find a single global optimum, but a diverse range of failure scenarios that explore both environments and human actions. I show how standard quality diversity algorithms can discover interesting and diverse scenarios in the shared autonomy domain. I then discuss the development of a new class of quality diversity algorithms that significantly improve the search of the scenario space, and the integration of these algorithms with generative models that enables the generation of complex and realistic scenarios. Finally, I discuss applications in procedural content generation and human preference learning.

Stefanos Nikolaidis is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California and leads the Interactive and Collaborative Autonomous Robotics Systems (ICAROS) lab. His research focuses on stochastic optimization approaches for learning and evaluation of human-robot interactions. His work leads to end-to-end solutions that enable deployed robotic systems to act optimally when interacting with people in practical, real-world applications. Stefanos completed his PhD at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and received an MS from MIT, a MEng from the University of Tokyo and a BS from the National Technical University of Athens. His research has been recognized in the form of best paper awards and nominations from the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems and the International Symposium on Robotics.