Structure and Synthesis of Robot Motion

Semester 2 2011/2012

Level 11 Official course descriptor


Course organiser: Michael Rovatsos
To contact:
Office: 2.12 IF
Phone: 651 3263


Lecturer: Subramanian Ramamoorthy
Tutor: Benjamin Rosman
Lecture times: Mondays and Thursdays 10 - 10:50 am, AT 2.12
Lecture topics and handouts


The course mark will be computed using the following weighting: In addition, there will be assignments for tutorial sessions (not marked) aimed at unpacking the material and giving students practice with the taught concepts.

Primary Objectives

This course will introduce students to state of the art methods and some current research themes centered on the question of how intelligent robots should make decisions about their motion and behaviour.
To a computer scientist, the problem of motion synthesis is of interest because it calls for systematic treatment of various kinds of unknowns in decision making. The course will be structured in terms of six major themes, typically two lectures each - each theme addressing a key type of unknown in a model of decision making within robots. The six themes for this semester are:

These topical lectures will be preceded by a couple of lectures reviewing basic concepts, to set the scene. Lectures will be complemented by four tutorial sessions and three homework assignments, which should be treated as an essential and integral part of the course.

Background and Pre-requisites

This is a 'second course' in robotics.
It is assumed that all students have completed an introductory robotics course, or possess equivalent working knowledge. It is expected that the student has sufficient mathematical maturity in order to be able to read the robotics literature (i.e., facility with concepts from multivariate calculus, linear algebra, probability and statistics, etc.).
On the practical side, assignments and tutorials will require programming, typically in some combination of Matlab and Webots. Students are expected to enter this course with sufficient programming skill, or the capacity to learn what is required on the fly. However, this is not a 'programming course' - most of our classroom discussion will focus on algorithmic and conceptual ideas.

Suggested Readings

Other specific references will be assigned along with corresponding lectures.

Last update: 10 January 2012.

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