"Observing, Learning, and Executing Fine-Grained Manipulation Activities: A Systems Perspective"

Thursday, May 27 @ 12:00ppm PST

Speaker: Gregory D. Hager

Seminar Abstract

In the domain of image and video analysis, much of the deep learning revolution has been focused on narrow, high-level classification tasks that are defined through carefully curated, retrospective data sets. However, most real-world applications – particularly those involving complex, multi-step manipulation activities -- occur “in the wild" where there is a combinatorial “long tail” of unique situations that are never seen during training. These systems demand a richer, fine-grained task representation that is informed by the application context, and which supports quantitative analysis and compositional synthesis. As a result, the challenges inherent in both high-accuracy, fine-grained analysis and performance of perception-based activities are manifold, spanning representation, recognition, and task and motion planning.

In this talk, I’ll summarize our work addressing these challenges. I’ll first describe DASZL, our approach to interpretable, attribute-based activity detection. DASZL operates in both pre-trained and zero shot settings and has been applied to a variety of applications ranging from surveillance to surgery. I’ll then describe work on machine learning approaches for systems that use prediction models to support perception-based planning and execution of manipulation tasks. I’ll close with some recent work on “Good Robot,” a method for end-to-end training of a robot manipulation system which leverages architecture search and fine-grained task rewards to achieve state-of-the-art performance in complex, multi-step manipulation tasks. I’ll close with a brief summary of some directions we are exploring, enabled by these technologies. 

Bio: Greg Hager is the Mandell Bellmore Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University and Founding Director of the Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare. Professor Hager’s research interests include computer vision, vision-based and collaborative robotics, time-series analysis of image data, and applications of image analysis and robotics in medicine and in manufacturing. He is a member of the CISE Advisory Committee, the Board of the Directors of the Computing Research Association, and the governing board of the International Federation of Robotics Research. He previously served as Chair of the Computing Community Consortium. In 2014, he was awarded a Hans Fischer Fellowship in the Institute of Advanced Study of the Technical University and in 2017 was named a TUM Ambassador.  Professor Hager has served on the editorial boards of IEEE TRO, IEEE PAMI, and IJCV and ACM Transactions on Computing for Healthcare. He is a fellow of the ACM and IEEE for his contributions to Vision-Based Robotics and a Fellow of AAAS, the MICCAI Society and of AIMBE for his contributions to imaging and his work on the analysis of surgical technical skill. Professor Hager is a co-founder of Clear Guide Medical and Ready Robotics. He is currently an Amazon Scholar.