Workshop at IROS 2012 (Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal - October 12, 2012)

Workshop Highlights



08:45 Introduction

09:00  Quantitative measurements of Octopus vulgaris arms for bioinspired soft robotics
C. Laschi, L. Margheri
The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy
B. Mazzolai
Center for Micro-BioRobotics of IIT@SSSA, Italian Institute of Technology, Italy

09:30 Tools and methodologies for gathering plume tracking skills from dogs
G. Cabrita and L. Marques
University of Coimbra, Portugal

10:00 Understanding humanoid robot behavior
A. Sciutti, A. Bisio, F. Nori, G. Sandini and G. Metta
Italian Institute of Technology, Italy

10:30 Coffee break

11:00 Entropy based metrics of sensory motor coordination: a short survey
F. Bonsignorio
University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain and Heron Robots

11:30 Empowerment and its Extension to the Continuous Domain
C. Salge, C. Glackin and D. Polani
Adaptive Systems Research Group, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

12:00 Open Discussion



Bioinspiration, in various forms, is a popular trend in robotics research.
How to measure the success of bioinspired solutions with respect to their natural models, and against more ‘artificial’ solutions?
The methodologies adopted in Robotics are sometimes coarser than those used by natural sciences such as neurophysiology/neurosciences and biology to quantitatively evaluate the performance in similar classes of functions. Also for those kinds of considerations, the interest in experimental methodologies increased dramatically within the robotics community, both from researchers, aiming at more grounded and fast research advancement, and from public funding agencies, according to the idea that good experimental activities could reduce the gap between research and industrial applications.
Some projects have been funded by the European Commission and a series of workshops (see below) have been held in the latest years. Indeed, the definition of proper benchmarking procedures has become a key requisite of European project funding application.
The aim of this workshop is to discuss these fundamental issues in the context of a specific subset of problems: namely, the metrics for sensory motor coordination in Robotics/AI and Cognitive Science (also with respect to the role of experiments) in artificial and natural intelligent/cognitive systems, and the way the same or similar functions are evaluated in biology, neuroscience/neurophysiology and psychology.
We also aim to lay some foundations toward a replicable robotics research publishing thread based on the publication of fully replicable experiments.

This will reduce the distance from disciplines studying artificial and natural autonomous systems.
The best contributions will be invited to submit to a refereed edited book.

Relation to previous ICRA or IROS workshops

This workshop is a joint initiative of the IEEE-TC on Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking of Robotic and Automation Systems (PEBRAS) and the EURON Special Interest Group on Good Experimental Methodology for Robotics (SIG GEM). The proposers are co-chairs of IEEE-TC PEBRAS and/or EURON SIG GEM and have jointly co-organized over 10 successful related events in the last 5 years, such as 5-in-a-row workshops on Benchmarking and Performance Metrics at IROS (2006-2010), three workshops at RSS (2008-2010) and the Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems Workshop (PERMIS) series (2006-2012) and two
organized at ICRA 2010  and 2011 on replication of experiment in robotics research. One will be organized at ICRA 2012. John Hallam has been involved in the organization of  many conferences on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior and he is the president of International Society for the Simulation of Adaptive Behaviour.


This workshop is supported by IEEE RAS TC-Pebras and the Euron GEM Sig

Intended audience:

Robotics researchers from any subfield of the discipline from both academia and industry. Researchers active in neurorobotics, bioinspired robotics, and in biology. Industry members interested in the exploitation of research results, others interested in methodologies in scientific and engineering disciplines.

List of topics:

* Metrics for sensory motor coordination and visual servoing effectiveness and efficiency;

* Metrics for shared control effectiveness and efficiency;

* Benchmarking autonomy and robustness to changes in the environment/task;

* Scalable autonomy measurements;
* Design of Experiments in Robotics/AI;

* Execution of Experiments in Robotics;

* Comparison of experimental methodology in neurosciences/neurophysiology and in Robotics;

* Comparison of experimental methodology in neurosciences/neurophysiology and in AI;
* Comparison of experimental methodology in Biology and in Robotics;
* Comparison of experimental methodology in Biology and in AI;

* Success metrics in bioinspired Robotics;

* Experimental scenarios to evaluate performance, demonstrate generality, and measure robustness in robots and animals;

* Well grounded experimental methods to compare artificial and natural cognitive systems;

* Performance metrics based on Shannon entropy related measures;

* Performance metrics based on dynamical systems methods;

* Performance modeling of the relationship between a task and the environment where it is performed

* Relationship between benchmarking and replication of experiments with

* Reporting experiments in Robotics;

* Epistemological issues;
* Examples of Good Practice;

* Evaluation of Experimental Robotics Work;

* Proposals for Promotion of Good Experimental Work;



Main Organizer:

Fabio Bonsignorio
IEEE Senior Member
Board Member European Robotics Network EURON
Co-Chair Euron SIG on Good Experimental Methodologies and Benchmarking
Professor, Banco de Santander Chair of Excellence in Robotics
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Avda. Universidad, 30
28911 Leganés, Spain
Tel: +34 916246014
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Heron Robots srl
V.R.Ceccardi 1/18, 16121 Genova, Italy,
Tel: +39-339-8406011,



Elena Messina
Acting Chief Intelligent Systems Division  National Institute of
Standards and Technology
100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8230
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8230, USA
Tel: +1 301-975-3510
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Angel P. del Pobil, Ph.D,
Board Member European Robotics Network EURON
Co-Chair Euron SIG on  Good Experimental Methodologies and Benchmarking
Professor, Department of Engineering and Computer Science,

Universitat Jaume I
Director, UJI Robotic Intelligence Laboratory
12071 Castellon, Spain,
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John Hallam,
Board Member European Robotics Network EURON
President International Society of Adaptive Behavior ISAB
Co-Chair  Euron SIG on Good Experimental Methodologies and Benchmarking
Mærsk-McKinney Møller Institute, University of Southern
Odense, Denmark,
Tel: +45-65503546,
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Additional information