Microsoft Future Leaders in Robotics and AI Seminar Series: Benjamin Riviere

Friday, March 1, 2024
2:30 p.m.
Online seminar

What do smart robots dream of? Search-based decision-making in games, dynamical systems, and partially-observable environments

Benjamin Riviere
PhD Candidate
California Institute of Technology

Zoom Link


What do smart robots dream of? My research seeks answers to this question by designing how robots simulate the effect of their actions on the future, and how they use that information to make intelligent decisions. My work spans theory, algorithm design, and experiments. In this talk, I will develop this concept on three examples: (i) a large-scale game of tag where robots “juke” their opponents, (ii) a partially-observable setting where a spacecraft with faulty components must simultaneously excite useful observations to diagnoses its state and maintain safety, and (iii) a dynamical planning problem where a quadrotor navigates a windy arena to visit a collection of targets. All of these algorithms run in real-time and, rather than prescribing a particular solution, rely on the robot's ability to explore and execute intelligent behavior.


Benjamin Riviere is a PhD student at the California Institute of Technology, studying with Prof. Soon-Jo Chung. He received the B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2017 and the M.S. in Aeronautics from Caltech in 2018. His research interests are at the intersection of planning, learning, and dynamical systems with applications in robotics, space autonomy, and self-driving cars. He has received multiple awards including Honorable Mention for Best Paper at IEEE-RAL, Best Graduate Student GNC paper at AIAA Scitech, and was selected as an RSS Pioneer.

About the Seminar Series

The Future Leaders in Robotics and AI: Celebrating Diversity and Innovation Seminar Series is part of the University of Maryland and Microsoft Robotics and Diversity Initiative. This is a nationwide online seminar series for PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, or early-career professionals, especially underrepresented minorities and women. The seminar series highlights the latest research and innovation in the field of robotics and AI. The series is intended to provide exposure and mentorship opportunities to the speakers, build a network of innovators across the country, and support the speakers’ career planning.

The seminars are held once per month during the academic year. There are two speakers per seminar. Each speaker gives a 20-minute research presentation followed by a Q&A segment. Immediately after the second seminar, the speakers participate in a discussion with faculty.

Audience: Public 

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