Technology is transforming society and the way we work and interact. We are surrounded by computer technology and robots that gradually become more intelligent and are able to adapt to our needs and preferences. The success of these would be highly dependent on their behaviour capabilities that depend on their skills in learning and adaptation.
This project is concerned with international collaboration with leading partners in the US, Brazil and Japan within the domains of such self-learning systems and robots. The project is managed by the Robotics and Intelligent Systems (ROBIN) research group at the University of Oslo. The collaboration is through a set of different activities like short-term and long-term reciprocal mobility stays by students and staff for collaboration in research, curriculum and teaching material development, guest lectures and more.
The project started in 2017 with interaction between staff from all project partners in various ways including through e-mail, Skype and physical meetings. Physical meetings with project partners in Brazil (Institute of Informatics, Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) and Brazilian Institute of Robotics at Senai CIMATEC) were undertaken in April with a return visit from UFRGS in June in Oslo. Visits to potential new partners in Japan were undertaken in January (Tsukuba Univ. and Tokyo Univ.) and a partner visit to Kyushu University was made in October. On this latter trip, visits were also made to Tsukuba University and National Institute of Informatics (NII), Tokyo. We met with a representative from our partner at Wyoming University, US in the GECCO conference in Berlin in July and the other US partner (JPL) visited us in Oslo in September. Guest lectures have been held in Oslo and in two locations in Brazil, six in total, in addition to some other guest lectures presenting the project at other institutions. The student exchange for the academic year 2017 - 18 (autumn 2017 and spring 2018) supported by the project consisted of two incoming master students from UFRGS in Brazil and one outgoing master student to Kyushu Univ. in Japan.
The collaboration between faculty staff has continued in 2018, and in the following years together with partners in all of the three collaborating countries. The interaction has as earlier been through e-mail, digital meetings and physical meetings at institutions and conferences. Faculty staff from the Norwegian coordinator were during 2018 visiting partner institutions (including new ones) in all involved countries including Brazil with CIMATEC BIR in May and UFRGS in July; US with Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Univ. of California San Diego (UCSD) in August; Japan with Toyohashi Univ. in July and Kyushu University in September. We have had short incoming visits from Toyohashi Univ. in Japan in February and from Brazil (UFRGS) in April and August. These mutual visits have consisted of fruitful meetings and more than 10 guest/teaching lectures have been given in the 2018 reporting period. The activity increased further in the 2019 reporting period with 19 guest/teaching lectures. Learning about each other's study programs and courses has been regarded as valuable. Several different options for integrating research into teaching for an intensive course has been discussed and have led to a new course being established at the University of Oslo. It was taught for the first time August - November 2018 in Oslo, and taught again autumn 2019, 2020 and 2021. It is given in an intensive course format, with close to research topics and also includes learning about writing a scientific paper.
The student exchange for the academic year 2018-19 funded by the project consisted of two incoming master students from UFRGS in Brazil and five outgoing master students to UFRGS, Brazil (2), Kyushu Univ., Japan (1), JPL, US (1) and UCSD, US (1), respectively. A student exchange agreement between our respective departments at UFRGS and UiO has been prepared during the project period and was signed 8 February 2019 by the Rectors of the two Universities. For the academic year 2019-20, the project funded two outgoing master students to JPL, US and one incoming PhD student from UFRGS, Brazil. The collaboration within the various activities in the project like paper preparation has continued through e-mail and digital meetings after the pandemic broke out. Contact has also been established with new partners in the USA and Canada in 2021 (through relocated researchers from collaborators).
Another large and important activity in the project has been to organise the 9th Joint IEEE Int. Conf. of Developmental Learning and Epigenetic Robotics in Oslo 19-22 August 2019. This is accompanied by being guest editors for a special issue of IEEE Trans. Cognitive and Developmental Systems with 10 articles.
More info: http://www.mn.uio.no/ifi/english/research/projects/coinmac
The project has contributed to increased interdisciplinary and international research collaboration in several different ways. We have had regular contact throughout the project with international partners in all the three collaborating countries through physical and digital meetings and student exchange. This has resulted in 14 scientific papers co-authored with international partners being published at peer-reviewed international conferences and journals. Through a course established as a part of the project, we have achieved to integrate teaching and research, as well as to expose students to the international research community (without themselves having to travel) through the international contributions to the course. The course has contributed to increased interest among our own Master´s students in applying to our vacant PhD positions, as well as improving the gender balance substantially.
Technology is transforming society and the way we work and interact. We are surrounded by technology and computer interfaces that have recently become more intelligent and are able to adapt to our needs and preferences. Thanks to progress in machine learning and artificial intelligence, we see a major transition from ourselves adapting to fixed technology and services to these by themselves adapting to us human users. Thus, technology works more seamlessly in a continuously increasing number of domains. This includes robots that have traditionally only been used for manufacturing but are now arriving at work and at home as service robots. The success of these would be highly dependent on their behavior capabilities that depend on their skills in learning and adaptation. We see a rapid progress in both learning algorithms and robotic systems, and it is challenging for a single research group to both provide an updated set of courses in addition to undertaking state-of-the-research.
This project would be concerned with international collaboration with leading partners in the US, Brazil and Japan within the domains of such self-learning systems and robotics. It is highly relevant to our two current Research Council of Norway funded researcher projects EPEC and MECS. Thus, it would provide extended momentum to these projects by collaboration in research, teaching, and strengthening the interaction between the two domains. This will be through a set of different activities like short-term and long-term reciprocal mobility stays by students and staff for collaboration in research, curriculum and teaching material development and organizing intensive courses/workshops. The qualifying projects are undertaken by the Robotics and Intelligent Systems (ROBIN) research group at the University of Oslo which is an active research group with regularly about 30 master students, 10 PhD students and three postdocs in addition to the three faculty staff.