Friday, December 20, 2013

HRI 2014 Workshop on Cognitive Architectures for Human-Robot Interaction

I am co-organising a half-day workshop at the 9th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction next year (HRI'14), that will be held on the 3rd of March 2014 in Bielefeld, Germany. If you have any interest in this topic, or even would just like to find out more, please consider joining us! We have intended that this will be an inclusive event, with a high discussion content, and an emphasis on dissemination of ideas that will hopefully influence ongoing (social) Human-Robot Interaction research.

I've been interested in cognitive systems, cognitive robotics and cognitive architectures for a while now as my interest (and subsequent research) is in exploring general principles of cognition/intelligence, both for understanding natural systems and for the development of 'better' robotic systems (to test theories and accomplish tasks). I think that Human-Robot Interaction provides a fascinating context to explore cognitive architectures, as it provides a very different set of challenges to theory and implementation than have typically been considered. Hence the workshop!


HRI 2014 Workshop on Cognitive Architectures for Human-Robot Interaction

Monday 3rd March, 2014 (Bielefeld, Germany)


** Submission deadline: Friday 10th January, 2014
** Notification of acceptance: Monday 20th January, 2014
** Final (accepted) submission: Friday 7th February, 2014
** Workshop: Monday 3rd March, 2014 (half day)

Cognitive Architectures are constructs (encompassing both theory and models) that seek to account for cognition (over multiple timescales) using a set of domain-general structures and mechanisms. Typically inspired by human cognition, the emphasis is on deriving a set of principles of operation not constrained to a specific task or context. This therefore presents a holistic perspective: it forces the system designer to initially take a step back from diving into computational mechanisms and consider what sort of functionality needs to be present, and how this relates to other cognitive competencies. Thus the very process of applying such an approach to HRI may yield benefits, such as the integration of evidence from the human sciences in a principled manner, the facilitation of comparison of different systems (abstracting away from specific computational algorithms), and as a more principled manner to verify and refine the resultant autonomous systems.

For HRI, such an approach to building autonomous systems based on Cognitive Architecture, 'cognitive integration', would emphasise first those aspects of behaviour that are common across domains, before applying these to specific interaction contexts for evaluation. Furthermore, given inspiration from human cognition, it can also inherently take into account the behaviour of the humans with which the system should interact, with the intricacies and sub-optimality that this entails.

To date, there have been relatively few efforts to apply such ideas to the context of HRI in a structured manner. The aim of this workshop is therefore to provide a forum to discuss the reasons and potential for the application of Cognitive Architectures to autonomous HRI systems. It is expected that by attending this workshop and engaging in the discussions, participants will gain further insight into how a consideration of Cognitive Architectures complements the development of autonomous social robots, and contribute to the cross-fertilization of ideas in this exciting area.

Contributions are sought from all who are interested in participation. A light-touch review process will be applied to check for relevance - the emphasis of the workshop is on inclusion, discussion and dissemination. Prior to the workshop, the organizers will integrate these into a list a perspectives that will form the basis for the discussions.

Please prepare a 2-page position paper on your research-informed perspective on cognitive architectures for human-robot interaction (particularly social). The HRI template should be used for this submission (ACM SIG Proceedings). Submissions should be sent to: paul.baxter(a) All accepted position papers will be archived on the workshop website.

** Paul Baxter (Plymouth University, U.K.) and Greg Trafton (Naval Research Laboratory, USA)
** Email: paul.baxter(a)

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