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Members of the CS department, including Pedro FelzenszwalbJames Hays, Chad JenkinsMichael Littman  and Eli Upfal, participated in the Initiative in Human-Robot Interaction’s inaugural symposium on Monday, December 10. The symposium was organized by Chad, Michael, and Bertram Malle(CLPS) and was sponsored by the Department of Computer Science, the Digital Society Initiative, the Research Initiatives Office, and the Technology Ventures Office. The theme of the event was Fundamental Problems and Societal Solutions.

The symposium’s goal was to build a broad network of Brown scholars whose work speaks to issues of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) and to draw attention to Brown’s existing capabilities and resources to advance innovative, high-impact research, teaching, and technology in this emerging field. It showcased current activities in five thematic areas: Perception, Decision, Interaction, Action, and Impact.

The field of HRI raises fundamental questions about cognition and action in humans and robots and their increasingly sophisticated interactions. HRI research is inherently multidisciplinary and calls for contributions from science, the arts, and industry. HRI is also nationally recognized for its transformative impact on society. Applications of HRI to healthcare and medicine, service industries, manufacturing, and scientific exploration have the potential to enhance human productivity and enrich our quality of life.

The symposium featured 20 informal ten-minute faculty presentations spanning diverse fields in the basic sciences, arts, humanities, and applied technology, setting the stage for rich HRI collaborations at Brown.

“I think the symposium was a big success,” said Michael Littman. “It showcased some of the diverse and fascinating work going on all around campus.”