AI Seminar Series 2023: Gautham Vasan

The AI Seminar is a weekly meeting at the University of Alberta where researchers interested in artificial intelligence (AI) can share their research. Presenters include both local speakers from the University of Alberta and visitors from other institutions. Topics can be related in any way to artificial intelligence, from foundational theoretical work to innovative applications of AI techniques to new fields and problems.

On October 27, Amii & University of Alberta PhD student Gautham Vasan presented "Learning Sparse-Reward Tasks on Real Robots From Scratch" at the AI Seminar.


Learning from experience and continual adaptation to changing environments is crucial for intelligent robots to solve an open-ended sequence of increasingly complex tasks. In this talk, Vasan outlines some oft-ignored, practical challenges of continual learning on real-world robots and addresses two such issues: (i) How to specify reinforcement learning tasks?, and (ii) How to set up a real-time learning agent? The findings helped produce the first demonstration of pixel-based control by real-time model-free learning on four different kinds of real robots from scratch in just a few hours.

Watch the full presentation below:

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