Democratizing Robot Learning and Teaming

Matthew Gombolay, Ph.D.

Speaker: Matthew Gombolay, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology

New advances in robotics and autonomy offer a promise of revitalizing final assembly manufacturing, assisting in personalized at-home healthcare, and even scaling the power of earth-bound scientists for robotic space exploration. Yet, in real-world applications, autonomy is often run in the O-F-F mode because researchers fail to understand the human in human-in-the-loop systems. In this talk, I will share exciting research we are conducting at the nexus of human factors engineering and cognitive robotics to inform the design of human-robot interaction. In my talk, I will focus on our recent work on 1) enabling machines to learn skills from and model heterogeneous, suboptimal human decision-makers, 2) “white-box” that knowledge through explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) techniques, and 3) scale to coordinated control of stochastic human-robot teams. The goal of this research is to inform the design of autonomous teammates so that users want to turn – and benefit from turning – to the O-N mode.

Dr. Matthew Gombolay is an Assistant Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was named the Anne and Alan Taetle Early-career Assistant Professor in 2018. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 2011, an S.M. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 2013, and a Ph.D. in Autonomous Systems from MIT in 2017. Gombolay’s research interests span robotics, AI/ML, human-robot interaction, and operations research. Between defending his dissertation and joining the faculty at Georgia Tech, Dr. Gombolay served as technical staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, transitioning his research to the U.S. Navy and earning a R&D 100 Award. His publication record includes a best paper award from the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics and the ACM/IEEE Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI’22) as well as finalist awards for the best paper at the Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL’20) and Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS’23) and best student paper at the American Controls Conference (ACC’20). Dr Gombolay was selected as a DARPA Riser in 2018, received the Early Career Award from the National Fire Control Symposium, and was awarded a NASA Early Career Fellowship.