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Robot learning (navigation/localization) through dynamical systems

(supervised, unsupervised and reinforcement learning/PhD at Ghent University)



Proxy models and Recurrent neural learning for control in Oil and Gas

(cooperation with Petrobras and DAS/UFSC, Brazil)


Time Series-based Fraud detection

(University of Luxembourg/Choice technologies)


Deviation detection through dynamical reservoir models 

(cooperation with Halmstad University)






They are also listed below:

Event detection and localization for small mobile robots using reservoir computing

on Wed, 12/09/2015 - 14:06

Reservoir Computing (RC) techniques use a fixed (usually randomly created) recurrent neural network, or more generally any dynamic system, which operates at the edge of stability, where only a linear static readout output layer is trained by standard linear regression methods. In this work, RC is used for detecting complex events in autonomous robot navigation. This can be extended to robot localization tasks which are solely based on a few low-range, high-noise sensory data. The robot thus builds an implicit map of the environment (after learning) that is used for efficient localization by simply processing the stream of distance sensors. These techniques are demonstrated in both a simple simulation environment and in the physically realistic Webots simulation of the commercially available e-puck robot, using several complex and even dynamic environments.


Videos showing data generation for event detection and localization:




  1. Eric AntoneloBenjamin Schrauwen and Dirk Stroobandt Event detection and localization for small mobile robots using reservoir computing NEURAL NETWORKS, Vol. 21(6), pp. 862-871 (2008)  
  2. Eric AntoneloBenjamin SchrauwenXavier DutoitDirk Stroobandt and Marnix Nuttin Event detection and localization in mobile robot navigation using reservoir computing Proceedings of the International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks (ICANN), pp. 660-669 (2007)    

Generative Modeling of Autonomous Robots and their Environments using Reservoir Computing

on Wed, 01/20/2016 - 21:02

Autonomous mobile robots form an important research topic in the field of robotics due to their near-term applicability in the real world as domestic service robots. These robots must be designed in an efficient way using training sequences. They need to be aware of their position in the environment and also need to create models of it for deliberative planning. These tasks have to be performed using a limited number of sensors with low accuracy, as well as with a restricted amount of computational power. In this contribution we show that the recently emerged paradigm of Reservoir Computing (RC) is very well suited to solve all of the above mentioned problems, namely learning by example, robot localization, map and path generation. Reservoir Computing is a technique which enables a system to learn any time-invariant filter of the input by training a simple linear regressor that acts on the states of a highdimensional but random dynamic system excited by the inputs. In addition, RC is a simple technique featuring ease of training, and low computational and memory demands.

Keywords: reservoir computing, generative modeling, map learning, T-maze task, road sign problem, path generation







Related Publications

  1. Eric AntoneloBenjamin Schrauwen and Jan Van Campenhout Generative Modeling of Autonomous Robots and their Environments using Reservoir Computing Neural Processing Letters, Vol. 26(3), pp. 233-249 (2007)   


Reinforcement learning of robot behaviors (Master thesis)

on Wed, 12/09/2015 - 14:02

Title of Master thesis: A Neural Reinforcement Learning Approach for Intelligent Autonomous Navigation Systems

Classical reinforcement learning mechanisms and a modular neural network are unified to conceive an intelligent autonomous system for mobile robot navigation. The conception aims at inhibiting two common navigation deficiencies: generation of unsuitable cyclic trajectories and ineffectiveness in risky configurations. Different design apparatuses are considered to compose a system to tackle with these navigation difficulties, for instance: 1) neuron parameter to simultaneously memorize neuron activities and function as a learning factor, 2) reinforcement learning mechanisms to adjust neuron parameters (not only synapse weights), and 3) a inner-triggered reinforcement. Simulation results show that the proposed system circumvents difficulties caused by specific environment configurations, improving the relation between collisions and captures. 


Video (inhibiting unsuitable cyclic trajectories through reinforcement learning):

The robot starts not knowing what it should do in the environment, but as times passes, we can see that it interacts with the environment by colliding against obstacles and capturing targets (yellow boxes). Each collision elicits an appropriate innate response, i.e., aversion. As more collisions take place, its neural network learns to associate obstacles (and its blue color) with aversion behaviors such that it can deviate from obstacles (emergent behavior). The same process occurs for target capture being associated with attraction behavior through learning. In the end, the robot can navigate the environment efficiently, capturing targets, effectively suppressing cyclic trajectories common to such reactive systems.

Video (robot cooperation; each robot trained with previous neural network architecture)


The intelligent autonomous system corresponds to a neural network arranged in three layers (Fig. 4). In the first layer there are two neural repertoires: Proximity Identifier repertoire (PI) and Color Identifier repertoire (CI). Distance sensors stimulate PI repertoire whereas color sensors feed CI repertoire. Both repertoires receive stimuli from contact sensors. The second layer is composed by two neural repertoires: Attraction repertoire (AR) and Repulsion repertoire (RR). Each one establishes connections with both networks in the first layer as well as with contact sensors. The actuator network, connected to AR and RR repertoires, outputs the adjustment on direction of the robot. 

For more information on the robot simulator, check out this page: Autonomous robot simulator