CS 333: Algorithms for Interactive Robotics

Winter 2022, Class: Mon, Wed 3:15-4:45PM, 380-380W


As the field of robotics and AI is quickly emerging, one critical and challenging subject is ensuring that these agents can co-exist, coordinate, collaborate, and interact with humans. This course covers a diverse set of topics that include learning from (suboptimal) human data, coordination in repeated interactions, influencing interactions, intent inference, and shared autonomy. There will also be several guest lectures from experts in the field. Students will practice essential research skills including critiquing papers, debating, reviewing, writing project proposals, and presenting ideas effectively. The course is open to graduate and undergraduate students.


The course is a combination of lecture and reading sessions. The lectures discuss the fundamentals of topics required for modeling and design of interactive agents. During the reading sessions, students present and discuss recent contributions in this area. Throughout the semester, each student works on a related research project that they present at the end of the semester. See detailed course policies.


CS 221/229, CS 237a, and CS 238/CS 234 are recommended, but not required.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this course you will have gained knowledge about applications of various topics in designing interactive autonomous systems.

You will also have hands-on experience working on a research project and it is expected that you will gain the following research skills: analyzing literature related to a particular topic, critiquing papers, and presentation of research ideas.


  • COVID updates: The first two weeks of class (Jan 3 - Jan 14) will be virtual. To attend class and office hours, please use the zoom links provided on canvas.
  • Readings: Please sign up for 2 presenter slots (1 pro and 1 con) and 1 respondent slot using the link provided on canvas. Please sign up for a slot by Wednesday, Janurary 5th.
  • All lecture notes will be posted under the Files section on canvas.
  • Long reviews will now be due at noon the day the paper is presented instead of at midnight before the class.
  • Please turn in your project proposal, milestones, and final report by 11:59PM the day it is due on canvas.


Dorsa Sadigh

Dorsa Sadigh


Office Hours: Mon 5-6pm by appointment
Location: Gates 246
Minae Kwon

Minae Kwon

Course Assistant

Office Hours: Wed 5-7pm
Location: Gates 212
Virtual Location: Zoom link (Weeks 1&2)


Date Lecture Handouts / Deadlines Notes
Week 1
Mon, Jan 03

Learning from Demonstrations (1)
  • Please checkout our Course Policies.
  • Please sign up for 2 presenter slots and 1 respondent slot using the link on canvas by Wednesday Jan. 5th.

  • Efficient Reductions for Imitation Learning. Ross & Bagnell. (2010)
  • A Reduction from Apprenticeship Learning to Classification. Syed & Schapire. (2010)
  • A Reduction of Imitation Learning and Structured Prediction to No-Regret Online Learning. Ross et al. (2011)
  • Search-based Structured Prediction. Daume III et al. (2009)
Sample Long Review
Week 1
Wed, Jan 05

Learning from Demonstrations (2)
  • Maximum Entropy IRL. Ziebart, et al. (2010)
  • Maximum Margin Planning. Ratliff et al. (2006)
  • Confidence-Aware Imitation Learning from Demonstrations with Varying Optimality. Zhang and Cao. (2021)
Week 2
Mon, Jan 10

Learning from Suboptimal Demonstrations, Offline RL
Week 2
Wed, Jan 12

Learning from Preferences
    Erdem Biyik, Stanford
  • Active Preference-Based Learning of Reward Functions. Sadigh, et al. (2017)
  • Asking Easy Questions: A User-Friendly Approach to Active Reward Learning. Biyik et al. (2019)
  • Learning Reward Functions by Integrating Human Demonstrations and Preferences. Palan et al. (2019)
  • Learning Multimodal Rewards from Rankings. Myers et al. (2021)
Week 3
Mon, Jan 17
Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
(No class)
Week 3
Wed, Jan 19

Learning from Non-traditional Sources of Data
Week 4
Mon, Jan 24

Experimental Design
Week 4
Wed, Jan 26

Learning from Suboptimal Humans
Week 5
Mon, Jan 31
Guest Lecture

Human-Robot Interaction in Practice
Week 5
Wed, Feb 02

Multi-Agent Interactions: Game-Theoretic and Representation Learning Techniques
  • Planning for Cars that Coordinate with People: Leveraging Effects on Human Actions for Planning and Active Information Gathering over Human Internal State. Sadigh et al. (2018)
  • Learning Latent Representations to Influence Multi-Agent Interaction. Xie et al. (2020)
Week 6
Mon, Feb 07

Multi-Agent Interactions: Game-Theoretic and Representation Learning Techniques
Week 6
Wed, Feb 09

Repeated Interactions and Games
  • On the Critical Role of Conventions in Adaptive Human-AI Collaboration. Shih et al. (2021)
  • Formalizing Human-Robot Mutual Adaptation: A Bounded Memory Model. Nikolaidis, et al. (2014)
  • Emergent Prosociality in Multi-Agent Games Through Gifting. Wang et al. (2021)
  • Incentivizing Efficient Equilibria in Traffic Networks with Mixed Autonomy. Biyik et al. (2021)
Week 7
Mon, Feb 14

Multiagent Coordination
Week 7
Wed, Feb 16
Guest Lecture

Multi-Agent Interactions
Week 8
Mon, Feb 21
Preseidents' Day
(No class)
Week 8
Wed, Feb 23

Shared Autonomy
  • A Policy Blending Formalism for Shared Control. Dragan et al. (2013)
  • Shared Autonomy via Hindsight Optimization. Srinivasa et al. (2016)
  • Shared Autonomy with Learned Latent Actions. Jeon et al. (2020)
Week 9
Mon, Feb 28

Shared Autonomy
Week 9 Wed, Mar 02 Guest Lecture

The Role of Language in Building Interactive Robotics Agents
Week 10
Mon, Mar 07
    Due Project Presentation
Week 10
Wed, Mar 09
    Due Project Presentation
Week 11
Thu, Mar 17
Project Reports
    Due Deadline at midnight (Firm)

Grading Metrics

Component Contribution to Grade
Student Presentations & Paper Reviews 40%
Final Project 40%
Quizzes & Class Participation 20%
Total 100%

Final Project Grading

Component Contribution to Grade
Project Proposal Reports 5%
Project Milestone Reviews 5%
Project Presentation (Possibly with Demo) 10%
Final Project Report 20%
Total 40%

Grading Policies

Student Presentation & Paper Reviews (40%): All students will get a chance to present during the reading days. Each paper will have two presenters discussing the pros or cons of the paper. The presenters need to send the reviews (conference style) of their reading assignments by the noon on the day the paper is presented. The presentation grade is based on how well the material is presented in both the written review and the talk, how well it is connected to the rest of the papers or class, and how prepared the student is in answering questions from the class.

We will allocate 35 minutes for each paper (10 minutes for the paper's introduction, 10 minutes for pros, 10 minutes for cons, and 5 minutes for discussion). Both pro and con presenters should work together on the introduction. Student respondents should ask their prepared question during the discussion.

Every other student who will not be presenting is still required to write a short review of the two papers presented in reading days by noon on the day the paper is presented. The short reviews should just be a couple of sentences summarizing each of the two papers.

Final Project (40%): Each student is required to work individually or in groups of up to three people on a research project. The project requires a 1-page proposal including the relevant literature survey, a 2-page milestone review, a 5-8 page final report, and a final presentation/demo. All the page limits exclude references. Students who are taking the class for 4 units are required to work individually on their projects.

Quizzes & Class Participation (20%): There will be 6 short quizzes during the reading days on the lecture material and some of the paper readings. Students can drop 2 of the quizzes. We will also ask students to sign up as respondents and ask questions about the papers being presented. Respondents will be graded on their questions asked during the discussion period of each paper. All students should try to participate in the discussions on each paper during the reading days.

Project Instructions

The research project throughout the class should be a literature survey or study a new research problem, i.e., design a new algorithm, study a new application, etc. The main deliverables of the project are:

Project Proposal Reports (5%): A 1-page proposal that has identified the problem definition, a literature survey on the problem, a potential solution, and a timeline. Please turn it in by 11:59PM the day it is due on Canvas.

Project Milestone Reviews (5%): A 2-page writeup that goes through the progress so far, if there needs to be any changes to the goals, and the updated timeline. You should schedule a meeting with me or the CA to go over the milestone reviews. Please turn it in by 11:59PM the day it is due on Canvas.

Project Presentation, Possibly with Demo (10%): A short (~15-min) presentation reporting the final findings of the project.

Final Project Report (20%): A 5-8 page project report. Please turn it in by 11:59PM the day it is due on Canvas.

This class is partially based on the following existing courses:
Algorithmic Human-Robot Interaction (Berkeley)
Cooperative Machines (MIT)
Human-Robot Interaction (Georgia Tech)
Computational Human-Robot Interaction (USC)

    © Dorsa Sadigh 2022