Andrea Thomaz: Robots Learning from Human Teachers | CMU RI Seminar

30 March 2019

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Link to video on YouTube

Abstract: “In this talk I will cover some of the recent work out of the Socially Intelligent Machines Lab at UT Austin ( The vision of our research is to enable robots to function in dynamic human environments by allowing them to flexibly adapt their skill set via learning interactions with end-users. We explore the ways in which Machine Learning agents can exploit principles of human social learning, and breakdown assumptions about what “data” will be like, when the source of that data is an average human teacher. I will cover our work on interactive reinforcement learning algorithms that model the attention of the teacher; coupling learning from demonstration with simulation to make the best use of valuable interactions with people; and algorithms for re-using previously learned tasks in new contexts with the help of a teacher’s hints and corrections. In the latter part of the talk, I will put on my other hat, as co-founder and CEO of Diligent Robotics ( to tell you about how we are translating our research on adapting to human environments into a commercial product. Our first product, Moxi, is a robot assistant that works alongside and supports clinical care teams in hospitals. Moxi was launched into beta trials late last year, and has been deployed in four hospitals across Texas to date.”

John Payne

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