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PerMIS 2010 Plenary Addresses

Prof. Herman Bruyninckx
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Title: Benchmarking Reusability and Composability in Complex Software Systems -- The Open Source Opportunity

Abstract: Designers of current and future robot systems are confronted with an increasing amount of complexity, not only with respect to the richness of the desired end-user functionalities in these systems, but also with respect to the hardware and software infrastructure required to realise these functionalities. The domain of robotics has passed the tipping point beyond which it is not possible anymore for one single organization or company to develop robot systems completely in house.  

Hence, system designers must find ways to integrate third-party components into their designs, reliably, predictably and effectively.

This talk defines the concepts of reusability and composability on this context of complex systems design in a multi-sourcing world, and discusses a dozen or so aspects that system designers can use to benchmark reusability and composability of components, their own as well as those from third-party providers. Throughout the presentation, the role and importance of free and open source software will be motivated, and illustrated via a number of (un)successful real-world examples.

Bio: Dr. Bruyninckx obtained the Masters degrees in Mathematics (Licentiate, 1984), Computer Science (Burgerlijk Ingenieur, 1987) and Mechatronics (1988), all from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. In 1995 he obtained his Doctoral Degree in Engineering from the same university, where he is now professor with research interests in on-line Bayesian estimation of model uncertainties in sensor-based robot tasks, kinematics and dynamics of robots and humans, and the software engineering of large-scale robot control systems. In 2001, he started the Free Software ("open source") project Orocos, to support his research interests, and to facilitate their industrial exploitation.

Gregory Dudek
Centre for Intelligent Machines

McGill University, Canada

Title: Building Interfaces for Robotic Data Collection and Human-Robot Collaboration Underwater and Outdoors.

Abstract: In outdoor environments robots are ready to serve as tools for scientific data collection as well as assistants for human operators. Typically, however, a robotic system is subservient to a human operator and needs to respond to commands and constraints that may be issued in the field. On the other hand, keyboard entry and reprogramming is not appropriate user-interface mechanisms, even for technical users, when they are on a field expedition. Our lab has been developing human-robot interaction methods that allow a scuba diver to interact with a robotic assistant while underwater. This has entailed both the development of an amphibious robotic device with emphasis on gait selection, locomotion modes and software infrastructure, and on a communication language based on optical sensing of fiducial markers. A key part of this has been measuring the performance of the vehicle underwater and, more significantly, attempting to develop a communication paradigm for use underwater that is at once both expressive but also manageable. Due the substantial logistic overheads in doing work underwater, developing terrestrial surrogate tests to evaluate out work has also been an important requirement. Finally, we are working towards integrating the activities of our underwater vehicles with an amphibious mode of operation, a robotic boat, and a fixed-wing robotic aircraft. While we have made some progress towards our objectives, several challenges remain.

Bio: Gregory Dudek is a Professor with the School of Computer Science and a member of the McGill Research Centre for Intelligent Machines (CIM) and an Associate member of the Dept. of Electrical Engineering at McGill University. In 9/2008 he became the Director of the McGill School of Computer Science. He is the former Director of McGill's Research Center for Intelligent Machines, a 25 year old inter-faculty research facility. In 2002 he was named a William Dawson Scholar. In 2008 he was made James McGill Chair. In 2010 he was awarded the Fessenden Professorship in Science Innovation. In 2010 he was also awarded the Canadian Image Processing and Pattern Recognition Award for Research Excellence and also for Service to the Research Community. He directs the McGill Mobile Robotics Laboratory. He has been on the organizing and/or program committees of Robotics: Systems and Science, the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robotics and Systems (IROS), the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), Computer and Robot Vision, IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics and International Conference on Hands-on Intelligent Mechatronics and Automation among other bodies. He is president of CIPPRS, the Canadian Information Processing and Pattern Recognition Society, an ICPR national affiliate. He was on leave in 2000-2001 as Visiting Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University and at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). During his sabbatical in 2007-2008 he visited the Massachusetts Institute of technology and co-founded the company Independent Robotics Inc. He obtained his PhD in computer science (computational vision) from the University of Toronto, his MSc in computer science (systems) at the University of Toronto and his BSc in computer science and physics at Queen's University. He has published over 170 research papers on subjects including visual object description and recognition, robotic navigation and map construction, distributed system design and biological perception. This includes a book entitled "Computational Principles of Mobile Robotics" co-authored with Michael Jenkin and published by Cambridge University Press. He has chaired and been otherwise involved in numerous national and international conferences and professional activities concerned with Robotics, Machine Sensing and Computer Vision. He research interests include perception for mobile robotics, navigation and position estimation, environment and shape modelling, computational vision and collaborative filtering. He grew up in Montreal and favors light food. With his children he is re-discovering model rocketry, rollerblading, and has discovered he's not good at surfing but loves it.

Ken Goldberg
University of California, Berkeley

Title: Putting the Turing into Manufacturing: Recent Developments in Algorithmic Automation

Abstract: Automation for manufacturing today is where computer technology was in the early 1960's, a patchwork of ad-hoc solutions lacking a rigorous scientific methodology. CAD provides detailed models of part geometry. What's missing is formal models of part behavior, frameworks for the systematic design of automated systems that handle (e.g. assemble, inspect, sort, feed) parts, and tools for rigorous specification, analysis, and synthesis. 

In 1937, Alan Turing introduced an elegant model of computing with precise vocabulary and operations that formalized concepts of equivalence, correctness, completeness, and complexity. Can we develop similar models for manufacturing? 

"Algorithmic Automation" introduces abstractions that allow the functionality of automation to be designed independent of the underlying implementation and can provide the foundation for formal specification and analysis, algorithmic design, and consistency checking. Algorithmic Automation can facilitate integrity, reliability, interoperability, and maintainability and upgrading of automation. 

Researchers are developing a variety of algorithmic models. I'll present results from my lab and others on specific problems in part feeding and fixturing, including a framework for fixturing deformable parts and new geometric primitives for vibratory bowl feeders, and propose open problems for future research.

Bio: Ken Goldberg is Professor of IEOR, EECS, and the iSchool at UC Berkeley, and craiglist Distinguished Professor of New Media. He served two terms as Vice-President of Technical Activities for the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. His research addresses robot manipulation, geometric algorithms for automation, and networked robots. More information on his work is available at: http://

Helen Greiner
CEO of CyPhy Works and Founder of iRobot, USA

Bio: Helen Greiner is CEO of CyPhy Works, Inc, a startup company whose mission is to be a "SkunkWorks" for robotics.  She is a co-founder of iRobot, a ~$300Million business and the global leader of practical robots. Ms Greiner served as President of iRobot until 2004, Chairman until October 2008, and currently serves on the iRobot Board.  While at iRobot, she developed the strategy for and led iRobot's entry into the military market place.  She served as the Principal Investigator on the DARPA program that created the original PackBot Tactical Mobile Robot, of which over 3,000 have now been deployed.  At iRobot, she helped create a culture of practical innovation and performance that led to the creation of the iRobot Warrior, PackBot EOD, SUGV, and successful participation in many other DARPA, Army and Navy research programs.  Ms. Greiner also ran iRobot's financing projects which included raising $35M venture capital and a $70M initial public offering.  Before starting her new venture, she led iRobot's investment in a deployable Flash LADAR and acquisition of Nekton, an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) company.  Greiner holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in computer science, both from MIT.  She was presented with an honorary PhD by WPI in 2009. Ms. Greiner is highly decorated for her contributions in technology innovation and business leadership. She was named by the Kennedy School at Harvard in conjunction with the U.S. News and World Report as one of America's Best Leaders and was honored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) with the prestigious Pioneer Award. She has also been honored as a Technology Review Magazine "Innovator for the Next Century," invited to the World Economic Forum as a Global Leader of Tomorrow, and has been awarded the DEMO God Award at the DEMO Conference. In 2003, she was named one of the Ernst and Young New England Entrepreneurs of the Year and has been inducted in the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame. Her 20+ years of experience in robotic technology includes work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Ms. Greiner is a Trustee of the Boston Museum Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), Autonomous Unmanned Systems Vehicle International (AUVSI), the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MTLC), and the US Army War College Board of Visitors.  Ms. Greiner serves as the elected President and Board Member of the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC) - a 180 member industrial/academic group.

Created May 12, 2010, Updated September 21, 2016