Microsoft Future Leaders in Robotics and AI Seminar Series: Mengxue Hou

Friday, February 24, 2023
2:00 p.m.
Online Seminar

Assured Abstraction for Robotic Hierarchical Planning

Zoom Link

Mengxue Hou
Postdoctoral Fellow
Purdue University


To enable a smart and autonomous system to be cognizant, taskable, and adaptive in exploring an unknown and unstructured environment, robotic decision-making relies on learning a parameterized knowledge representation. However, one fundamental challenge in deriving the parameterized representation is the undesirable trade-off between computation efficiency and model fidelity. This talk addresses this challenge in the context of underwater vehicle navigation in unknown marine environments. To improve fidelity of the reduced-order model, we develop a learning method to generate a non-Markovian reduced-order representation of the environmental dynamics. By incorporating the Mori-Zwanzig formalism, we prove that the proposed learning-based abstraction achieves a time-uniform model reduction error bound. Further, taking advantage of the abstracted model, we develop a novel hierarchical planning algorithm to generate the optimal multi-modal strategies with low computation cost.


Mengxue Hou received the PhD degree from Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA in 2022, and B.S. degree from Electrical Engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China, in 2016. Since 2022, she is working as the Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellow at College of Engineering, Purdue University. Her research interests include robotics, mobile sensor networks, and shared autonomy.

About the Seminar Series

The Future Leaders in Robotics and AI: Celebrating Diversity and Innovation Seminar Series is part of the University of Maryland and Microsoft Robotics and Diversity Initiative. This is a nationwide online seminar series for PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, or early-career professionals, especially underrepresented minorities and women. The seminar series highlights the latest research and innovation in the field of robotics and AI. The series is intended to provide exposure and mentorship opportunities to the speakers, build a network of innovators across the country, and support the speakers’ career planning.

The seminars are held once per month during the academic year. There are two speakers per seminar. Each speaker gives a 20-minute research presentation followed by a Q&A segment. Immediately after the second seminar, the speakers participate in a discussion with faculty.

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