Compositional Robotics (Part 1)

A bunch of us are organizing a workshop on applications of category theory to robotics, as part of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation:

2021 Workshop on Compositional Robotics: Mathematics and Tools, online, 31 May 2021. Organized by Andrea Censi, Gioele Zardini, Jonathan Lorand, David Spivak, Brendan Fong, Nina Otter, Paolo Perrone, John Baez, Dylan Shell, Jason Kane, Alexandra Nilles, Andew Spielberg, and Emilio Frazzoli.

Submit your papers here by 21 May 2021!

Here’s the idea of the workshop:

In the last decade research on embodied intelligence has seen important developments. While the complexity of robotic systems has dramatically increased, both for single robots and interacting multi-robot systems (e.g., autonomous vehicles and mobility systems), the design methods have not kept up.

The standard answer to dealing with complexity is exploiting compositionality, but there are no well-established mathematical modeling and design tools that have the reach for compositional analysis and design at the level of a complex robotic system.

The goal of this workshop is to integrate mathematical principles and practical tools for compositional robotics, with a focus on applied category theory as a meta-language to talk about compositionality.

The workshop will happen on May 31st virtually. Details will follow.

Session I: Mathematics and Tools for Compositionality

In the morning, some of the world’s leading experts in Applied Category Theory (ACT) will provide tutorials to present an invitation to various aspects of compositionality, both at the theoretical and the practical level. In particular, Dr. Jonathan Lorand will teach Category Theory basics, Dr. David Spivak and Dr. Brendan Fong will introduce the audience to the concept of compositionality, Prof. John Baez will explain how the previously defined concepts can be used when modeling various types of systems, and Dr. Andrea Censi will present the theory of co-design, tailored to robotic applications.

Session II: Keynote Talks and Open Contributions

The afternoon session features two keynotes on the application of compositionality in robotics:

• Prof. Aaron Ames, Bren Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering and Control and Dynamical Systems, California Institute of Technology.

• Prof. Daniel Koditschek, Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Electrical & Systems Engineering, School of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania. Prof. Koditschek will be assisted by Dr. Paul Gustafson (Wright State University) and Dr. Matthew Kvalheim (University of Pennsylvania).

Both speakers are leading experts in their fields and have succesfully applied category theory and compositionality to real challenges in robotics. Finally, we plan for eight talk-slots for open submissions. Submissions should focus on mathematical perspectives (not limited to ACT) and applications of compositionality.

4 Responses to Compositional Robotics (Part 1)

  1. Toby Bartels says:

    Do ‘morning’ and ‘afternoon’ here refer to Switzerland?

    • John Baez says:

      I have no idea. I noticed that, and I’m not looking forward to explaining structured cospans, decorated cospans and network models at 3 am here in California.

      • Toby Bartels says:

        I'll have it easier listening to your explanation at 5:00 in Nebraska. Just let us know what you find out.

      • John Baez says:

        Ah, now I see the organizer Zardini Giole wrote:

        The conference organizers officially released the schedules and our workshop will happen on May 31st. We have the freedom to choose the starting time for the workshop, and we are reasoning about a good time to cover most areas/people in the world (ideally starting on our evening CET). We will follow up with details.

        Starting in the evening in Switzerland would be tolerable here in Riverside!

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