RSS 2015 Workshop

Bridging the Gap between Data-driven and Analytical Physics-based Grasping and Manipulation

July 16, Rome


In the last two decades, probabilistic data-driven approaches to manipulation have celebrated extensive successes due to their ability to extract complex behaviors from collected data. Generative probabilistic approaches furthermore have the advantage that they can synthesize grasps based on previously seen data. However these approaches can often only be verified empirically and do not necessarily abide by physical and dynamical constraints which can be modeled manually in an analytical approach. At the same time, these classical physics-based approaches to manipulation have advanced, and have started to incorporate a notion of uncertainty in their analysis. However simplifying assumptions e.g. on the contact and friction model, often have to be made. The combination of physics-based constraints with probabilistic reasoning however remains one of the key challenges in this field. This workshop focuses on bridging this gap, as well as on discussing the respective benefits of analytical and probabilistic approaches in various application domains.


The workshop will focus on the following areas, including but not limited to:


08:15 - 08:30 Welcome
08:30 - 09:10 Towards Machine Learning of Grasping and Manipulation - Jan Peters, TU Darmstadt.
09:10 - 09:50 Optimal and Learning Control for Dexterous, Agile and Versatile Service Robots - Jonas Buchli, ETH.
09:50 - 10:30 Local and Global Methods for Deformable Object Manipulation - Dmitry Berenson, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:30 Ian Lenz, Cornell University.
11:30 - 12:10 Ravin DeSouza, EPFL.
12:10 - 12:30 Grasp Envelopes for Constraint-based Robot Motion Planning and Control - Robert Krug, Örebro University.
12:30 - 14:30 Lunch Break
14:30 - 15:10 Grasping with Hands - Antonio Bicchi, University of Pisa.
15:10 - 15:40 Leveraging Big Data for Grasp Planning - Jeannette Bohg, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems.
15:40 - 16:00 One Shot Contact Learning - Marek Kopicki, University of Birmingham.
16:00 - 16:30 Coffee Break
16:30 - 17:10 Thin-Plate Splines and Learning to Manipulate from Demonstrations - Pieter Abbeel, UC Berkeley.
17:10 - 18:00 Panel Discussion

Workshop Agenda

The aim is to bring together researchers with different approaches to grasping and manipulation, both from the classical analytical/physics modeling based background and from the purely data-driven direction. The proposed speakers have been selected to cover a wide range of probabilistic and analytical grasp synthesis methods and to include experts in robotics, machine learning, and control. Invited speakers will get a 30 minute slot to present their latest work relevant to the workshop theme, also including the limits and opportunities that they see with these approaches and how they can be combined and feature in their own work. We will organize an interactive poster session, allowing more contributors to present their work and have detailed discussions with the workshop attendees. Contributed papers will be published on the website and invited to present a poster. We will have a panel discussion at the end where participants can discuss open questions on the state of the art in grasp and manipulation planning and the proposed directions of new research efforts that will be raised during the talks by the speakers. We hope to include many contributors and have fruitful discussions between invited speakers, active contributors, and the audience.

Call for Papers

We welcome the submission of two page extended abstracts describing new or ongoing work. The best two submissions will be selected for oral presentations during the workshop. Final instructions for poster presentations and talks will be available on the workshop website after decision notifications have been made. Accepted presenters will have the option of submitting a full length six-page paper. All contributed papers will be accessible on the workshop website. Submissions should be in .pdf format using the RSS paper template (LaTeX template, Word template ). Please send submissions to one of the organizers with the subject line "RSS 2015 Workshop Submission”. For any questions or clarifications, please contact the organizers.

Important Dates:

Abstract submission deadline: June 26, 2015

Acceptance notification: July 3, 2015

Final materials due: July 9, 2015

Workshop date: July 16, 2015


Florian T. Pokorny (UC Berkeley), ftpokorny [at]
Yu Sun (USF), yusun [at]
Carl Henrik Ek (KTH), chek [at]
Yasemin Bekiroglu (KTH), yaseminb [at]