We are excited to invite you to the
RSS 2017 workshop on
Minimality and Trade-offs in Automated Robot Design
full day workshop, on Sunday, July 16.
This workshop follows the successful first edition in 2016.
That is the workshop that originated The Robot Design Game,
a card game which seeks to explore the tradeoffs in resource
constraints inherent in robot design problems. The game is a
mix of Iron Chef, Magic The Gathering, Cards Against
Humanity, Texas Hold'em, robots, and peer review.
This year, we have an improved format, and improved game as
well, with 120 new cards in the deck! You can see the new
deck and read the rules on this site:
This is a special workshop. Rather than making the workshop
a "mini conference" on a narrow established topic, we sought
to make it an opportunity to think broadly about some new
interesting science to come.
The workshop is divided in three parts:
During the first and second morning session, there is a
sequence of short talks about the guiding questions of the
workshop. The presenters were selected based on their
preliminary statements (which you can read online). This
allowed us to have a very diverse range of backgrounds.
*Robot Design Game tournament*
In the afternoon, it's play time! We will play a tournament
of the Robot Design Game. We will gift 8 copies of the game
to the winners. (By the way, this year the game comes with
luxury 100% plastic cards and a premium box.)
*Break up groups*
During the fourth session (second half of the afternoon), we
will break into groups. Each group will think about one
specific question or topic, and the resulting material will
be edited into a position statement.
You can see the schedule and other details at the site
For everything about the Robot Design Game, please see
Most fields of engineering are characterized by fundamental
trade-offs between maximizing performance and minimizing
resource usage; robotics is no exception. In robot design,
trade-offs are distributed among subsystems such as sensing,
actuation, computation, and power. A mathematical framework
to describe these trade-offs does not yet exist.
The speakers and discussions in this workshop will focus on
working toward formal representations that make automated
reasoning and synthesis possible, and enable design choices
beyond once-off, ad hoc solutions.
The workshop brings together roboticists with a variety of
backgrounds to start to answer the question:
"How can computers and software help us navigate
the space of design decisions?"
Here are some specific questions to discuss: (see online
for the preliminary statements by the speakers)
1. What would an ideal automated robot design process look
like? What is the role of human interaction with the tool?
What techniques can we use from formal methods or software
engineering and human-computer interaction? The broader
design community? What is there to learn from the "maker"
2. How can we parametrize (or otherwise abstract) robotic
components, to avoid hand-maintaining large component
“libraries”? What are the pros and cons of modular robotic
components in automating design?
3. What are examples of robots achieving tasks with minimal
resources? How can these examples inform automatic design?
4. Are sensing, actuation, computation, communication and
power the correct categories for formalizing robotic
resources? What are some first steps toward formalizing
resource trade-offs in robot design?
5. What are some interesting existing methods for formal
specification of robot functionality and task structure?
What are the shortcomings of these methods?
6. What question is missing from this list?
We hope to see you there!
(on behalf of co-organizers Hadas Kress-Gazit, Alexandra
"Alli" Nilles, and Jason O'Kane)
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