The Socially Intelligent Machines Lab

Friday, March 25, 2016
UTA 7.532
This talk will present recent work from the Socially Intelligent Machines Lab.  The vision of our research is to enable robots to function in real human environments; such as, service robots helping at home, co-worker robots to revolutionize manufacturing, and assistive robots empowering healthcare workers and enabling aging adults to live longer in their homes.   To do this, we need to build intelligent robots that can be embedded into human environments to interact with everyday people.  Many of the successes of robotics to date rely on structured environments and repeatable tasks, but what all of  these visions have in common is deploying robots into dynamic human environments where pre-programmed controllers won’t be an option. These robots will need to interact with end users in order to learn what they need to do on-the-job.  
Our research aims to computationally model mechanisms of human collaboration and social learning in order to build robots and other machines that are intuitive for people to teach.  We take Machine Learning interactions and redesign interfaces and algorithms to support the collection of learning input from end users instead of ML experts.  This talk covers results on building models of reciprocal interactions, high-level task goal learning, low-level skill learning, and active learning interactions using humanoid robot platforms.  


UT Austin
Dr. Thomaz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.  She joined the faculty in 2016, previously she was an an Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Her research is focused on computationally modeling mechanisms of human social learning in order to build robots and other machines that are intuitive for people to teach.  
She earned a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999, and Sc.M. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT in 2002 and 2006. Dr. Thomaz has published in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Human-Robot Interaction. She received an ONR Young Investigator Award in 2008, and an NSF CAREER award in 2010. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, on NOVA Science Now, she was named one of MIT Technology Review’s TR 35 in 2009, and on Popular Science Magazine’s Brilliant 10 list in 2012.