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In this talk, I review the Soar cognitive architecture, including the motivation for cognitive architecture, the history of Soar, the applications it has been applied to, and our current research on Interactive Task Learning. I then discuss Soar from the standpoint of an open-source research project: positives, negatives, and challenges.

In his captivating lecture, Frank Guerin examines the question about the integration between robot vision and a deeper understanding of tasks. As robot grasping is still an unsolved problem, he explores why and how human perception of objects is relevant to manipulation and explains what "transferrable toddler skills" are. The lecture is suitable for beginners.

From small to complex, from robot vacuum cleaner to self-driving car: every robotic system needs some sort of perceptual capabilities in order to perceive information from its environment and to understand how it can manipulate it. Perception can come in many forms. Tim Patten gives a highly interesting introduction on how robots deal with object identification: what is it? (recognition), what type is it? (classification), where is it? (object detection), and how do I manipulate it? (grasping). The talk is suitable for beginners.

Part 2: In his equally interesting follow-up lecture, Animesh Garg continues to explore compositional planning and multi-step reasoning, i.e. when a robot is supposed to do multiple tasks in a certain structure. He also examines robot perception via structured learning through instruction videos, and tackles the question of how to collect the data required for robot learning.

Michael Beetz provides an educational introduction to CRAM, Cognitive Robot Abstract Machine. How can we write a robot control program where the robot receives instructions for the performance of a task and is able to produce the behavior neccessary to accomplish the task? This simple question is not fully answered yet as there is still an information gab between instruction and body motion that has to be filled in a semantically meaningful manner. One way is simplifying perception tasks and implementing motion contrains. Follow Michael Beetz's interesting approach to metacognition.

Tools and Datasets

The video is a tutorial showing the basics of the CRAM framework, which is a toolbox for designing, implementing, and deploying software on autonomous robots. The aim of the tutorial is to (1) give an intuition of what knowledge the robot needs to execute even a simple fetch and place, (2) show how many different things can go wrong and teach writing simple failure handling strategies, and (3) make the user familiar with the API of the actions already implemented in the CRAM framework.


Gayane (shortly Gaya) is a PhD student at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence of the University of Bremen. Her main research interests are concentrated in the area of cognition-enabled robot executives. She is currently actively and passionately involved in the development of CRAM. Before joining Michael Beetz's group in November 2013, she worked for one year as a research assistant at Kastanienbaum GmbH (now Franka Emika) with Sami Haddadin, in tight collaboration with the Robotics and Mechatronics Center of DLR. Before that, she has acquired her M.Sc. degree in Informatics with a major in AI and Robotics at the Technical University of Munich. Before coming to Germany, she had a number of short-term jobs in the fields of iPhone game development and web development. She's got her B.Eng. degree in Informatics with a major in Information Security from the State Engineering University of Armenia.


openEASE is a web-based Knowledge Processing Service for Robots and Robotics/AI Researchers. 


pracmln is a toolbox for statistical relational learning and reasoning and as such also includes tools for standard graphical models. pracmln is a statistical relational learning and reasoning system that supports efficient learning and inference in relational domains. pracmln has started as a fork of the ProbCog toolbox and has been extended by latest developments in learning and reasoning by the Institute for Artificial Intelligence at the University of Bremen, Germany.


KnowRob is a knowledge processing system that combines knowledge representation and reasoning methods with techniques for acquiring knowledge and for grounding the knowledge in a physical system and can serve as a common semantic framework for integrating information from different sources. KnowRob combines static encyclopedic knowledge, common-sense knowledge, task descriptions, environment models, object information and information about observed actions that has been acquired from various sources (manually axiomatized, derived from observations, or imported from the web). It supports different deterministic and probabilistic reasoning mechanisms, clustering, classification and segmentation methods, and includes query interfaces as well as visualization tools.


CRAM (Cognitive Robot Abstract Machine) is a software toolbox for the design, the implementation, and the deployment of cognition-enabled autonomous robots performing everyday manipulation activities. CRAM equips autonomous robots with lightweight reasoning mechanisms that can infer control decisions rather than requiring the decisions to be preprogrammed. This way CRAM-programmed autonomous robots are much more flexible, reliable, and general than control programs that lack such cognitive capabilities. CRAM does not require the whole domain to be stated explicitly in an abstract knowledge base. Rather, it grounds symbolic expressions in the knowledge representation into the perception and actuation routines and into the essential data structures of the control programs.