Faculty Candidate Talk: Mathematical Models of Adaptation in Human-Robot Collaboration

Monday, February 12, 2018 -
4:00pm to 5:00pm
Computer Sciences 1240

Speaker Name: 

Stefanos Nikolaidis

Speaker Institution: 

Carnegie Mellon University - Robotics Institute



Cookies Location: 

Computer Sciences 1240


The goal of my research is to improve human-robot collaboration by integrating mathematical models of human behavior into robot decision making. I develop game-theoretic algorithms and probabilistic planning techniques that reason over the uncertainty in the human internal state and its dynamics, enabling autonomous systems to act optimally in a variety of real-world collaborative settings.

While much work in human-robot interaction has focused on leader-assistant teamwork models, the recent advancement of robotic systems that have access to vast amounts of information suggests the need for robots that take into account the quality of the human decision making and actively guide people towards better ways of doing their task. In this talk, I propose an equal partners model, where human and robot engage in a dance of inference and action, and I focus on one particular instance of this dance: the robot adapts its own actions via estimating the probability of the human adapting to the robot. I start with a bounded memory model of human adaptation parameterized by the human adaptability - the probability of the human switching towards a strategy newly demonstrated by the robot. I then propose data-driven models that capture subtler forms of adaptation, where the human teammate updates their expectations of the robot’s capabilities through interaction. Integrating these models into robot decision making allows for human-robot mutual adaptation, where coordination strategies, informative actions and trustworthy behavior are not explicitly modeled, but naturally emerge out of optimization processes. Human subjects experiments in a variety of collaboration and shared autonomy settings show that mutual adaptation significantly improves human-robot team performance, compared to one-way robot adaptation to the human.


Stefanos Nikolaidis completed his PhD at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute in December 2017 and he is currently a research associate at the University of Washington, Computer Science & Engineering. His research lies at the intersection of human-robot interaction, algorithmic game-theory and planning under uncertainty. Stefanos develops decision making algorithms that leverage mathematical models of human behavior to support deployed robotic systems in real-world collaborative settings. He has a MS from MIT, a MEng from the University of Tokyo and a BS from the National Technical University of Athens. He has additionally worked as a research specialist at MIT and as a researcher at Square Enix in Tokyo. He has received a Best Enabling Technologies Paper Award from the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction and was a Best Paper Award Finalist in the International Symposium on Robotics.

Website: http://www.stefanosnikolaidis.net/