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  • CS Colloquium: Marynel Vazquez (Yale University) - Towards Robots with Increased Social Context Awareness

    Thu, Oct 19, 2023 @ 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Marynel Vazquez, Yale University

    Talk Title: Towards Robots with Increased Social Context Awareness

    Abstract: It is common to study human-robot interactions in well-controlled laboratory environments that vary in limited ways during the encounters. However, many real-world applications require robot adaptation to dynamic interaction scenarios. For example, robots may navigate across different places or interact with different people as they try to complete a task. Fundamental to this adaptation is a robot's ability to reason about their social context. How should we abstract this context in Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)? What models should we use to reason about the many contextual factors that matter to an application of interest? In this talk, I will describe experimental work that highlights the importance of reasoning about different contextual factors in HRI. Then, I will present recent results on leveraging graph abstractions and relational data-driven models to make inferences about the context of interactions and drive robot behavior. Further, because data is generally scarce in HRI, I will also describe two directions to facilitate data collection in Human-Robot Interaction. One direction focuses on creating an open robot platform for studying social interactions in public environments. The other one aims to scale HRI data collection for early system development and testing via online interactive surveys. We have begun to explore the latter idea for social robot navigation but, thanks to advances in game development engines, it could be easily applied to other HRI application domains.

    This lecture satisfies requirements for CSCI 591: Research Colloquium

    Biography: Marynel Vázquez is an Assistant Professor in Yale's Computer Science Department, where she leads the Interactive Machines Group. Her research focuses on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), especially in multi-party and group settings. Marynel is a recipient of the 2022 NSF CAREER Award, two Amazon Research Awards and a Google Research Scholar Award. Recently, her work has been recognized with best paper awards at HRI'23 and RO-MAN'22. Prior to Yale, Marynel was a Post-Doctoral Scholar at the Stanford Vision & Learning Lab and obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, where she was a collaborator of Disney Research. Before then, she received her bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Venezuela.

    Host: Stefanos Nikolaidis

    Location: Olin Hall of Engineering (OHE) - 132

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: CS Faculty Affairs

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