Emergent Behaviors in Human-Robot Systems

RSS 2020 Workshop
July 12, 2020
Oregon State University at Corvallis, Oregon, USA Virtual Event

Corvallis, Oregon

COVID-19 Information

The workshop organizing committee hopes you are safe and well. Due to the pandemic and the uncertainty regarding travel to the US, the RSS 2020 organizing committee and the RSS foundation boards have decided RSS 2020 will take place virtually during the original dates. Therefore, our workshop will also be a virtual event on July 12. Due to this change, we have decided to cancel the poster sessions and solicit contributions as 5-minute spotlight talks. The submissions should still be 2-page extended abtracts (plus references). We have also extended the submission deadline to June 5, 2020 at 23.59.

Key Facts

  Full Day
Contact Information
  ebiyik [at] stanford [dot] edu


This workshop will focus on emerging behaviors in human-robot systems. Hence, the intended audience includes, but is not limited to, the researchers who study human-robot interaction and multi-agent systems, with applications such as personal robots, assistive robots, and self-driving cars. The workshop will bring attention to several aspects regarding emergent behaviors: how they can be predicted, how they emerge and how we can best benefit from them. Bringing researchers together from various fields, the workshop will consist of interleaved talks between the speakers from different fields to encourage multidisciplinary discussion and interaction. Discussion and interaction will be further encouraged through break-out sessions, including a panel and debate, as well as the morning and afternoon coffee breaks.

This workshop may also be interesting to the learning community, since many recent developments in multi-agent reinforcement learning focus on how communication and coordination can autonomously emerge in robot teams. Besides, exploring how human agents develop conventions with robots has often served as an inspiration for learning algorithms. Hence, the workshop includes speakers focused on multi-agent learning.

Call for Papers (PDF Version)

The workshop is soliciting papers for 5-minute spotlight talks. To participate, please submit a paper title and a 2 page abstract + references (using RSS paper format) via email with the subject "[RSS 2020 Abstract]" to: rss-workshop@cs.stanford.edu by June 5, 2020 at 23.59 (Anywhere on Earth). All contributions will undergo a brief review by the organizers, and the authors will be notified of acceptance by June 12, 2020. Please note that we have a best paper award.

Accepted papers and eventual supplementary material will be made available on the workshop website. However, this does not constitute an archival publication and no formal workshop proceedings will be made available, meaning contributors are free to publish their work in archival journals or conference.


Front Figure

Robots are increasingly becoming members of our everyday community. Self-driving cars, robot teams, and social and assistive robots operate alongside human end-users to carry out various tasks. Similar to the conventions between humans, which are the low dimensional representations that capture the interaction and can change over time, emergent behaviors form as a result of repeated long-term interactions in multi-agent systems or human-robot teams. Unfortunately, these emergent behaviors are still not well understood. For instance, the robotics community has observed that many different, and often surprising, robot behaviors can emerge when robots are equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques. While some of these emergent behaviors are simply undesirable side-effects of misspecified objectives, many of them significantly contribute to the performance in the task and influence other agents in the environment. These behaviors can further lead to developing conventions and adaptation of other agents, who are possibly humans, by encouraging them to approach the task differently.

Goal. We want to investigate how complex and/or unexpected robot behaviors emerge in human-robot systems, and to understand how we can minimize their risks and maximize their benefits. This workshop promotes a discussion on

List of Confirmed Speakers

Brenna Argall

Northwestern University

Anca Dragan

University of California, Berkeley

Judith Fan

University of California, San Diego

Jakob Foerster

Facebook AI & University of Toronto

Robert D. Hawkins

Princeton University

Maja Matarić

University of Southern California

Igor Mordatch

Google Brain

Harold Soh

National University of Singapore

Mac Schwager

Stanford University

Tentative Schedule

Logistics: 25 minute talks followed by 5 minute discussions.

08:50 AM - 09:00 AM Workshop Introduction
09:00 AM - 09:30 AM speaker 1
09:30 AM - 10:00 AM speaker 2
10:00 AM - 10:15 AM Spotlight Talks
10:15 AM - 10:30 AM Coffee Break
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM speaker 3
11:00 AM - 11:30 AM speaker 4
11:30 AM - 12:00 PM Panel w/ First Four Speakers
12:00 PM - 02:00 PM Lunch Break
02:00 PM - 02:30 PM speaker 5
02:30 PM - 03:00 PM speaker 6
03:00 PM - 03:30 PM speaker 7
03:30 PM - 03:45 PM Spotlight Talks
03:45 PM - 04:00 PM Coffee Break
04:00 PM - 04:30 PM speaker 8
04:30 PM - 05:00 PM speaker 9
05:00 PM - 05:30 PM Debate w/ Last Five Speakers