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Applied Physics Lab Special Seminar
WhenTuesday, Jun 18, 2019, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
WhereUniversity of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory
1013 NE 40th St, Seattle, WA 98105
Campus roomApplied Physics Laboratory
Event typesAcademics

Speaker: Paul Reverdy
         Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
         University of Arizona
         Tucson, Arizona


Time:    Tuesday, June 18, 2:30 PM             

(Coffee/Tea, Cookies and Conversation at 2:00PM)

Place: APL Hardisty Conference Center


Mobile robots are becoming increasingly ubiquitous due to technological advances in sensing,
actuation, and computation. However, devising control strategies to ensure that robots perform
their assigned tasks in unpredictable real-world environments remains a challenge. An approach
that has proved useful in practice is to encode tasks as attractors of dynamical systems, e.g.,
design vector fields that steer a vehicle to a desired location. To encode richer behaviors, one
can develop methods to switch among low-level point-attractor controllers; this is often done by
developing an automaton that discretely switches between available controllers, yielding a
hybrid dynamical system. In this work, we develop an alternative approach based on a dynamical
systems mechanism for making decisions, i.e., choosing controllers. The system associates a
value with each possible controller and then selects the controller with the highest value. We
derive conditions under which the system exhibits a stable limit cycle which corresponds to
persistently carrying out the desired tasks. We conclude the talk by discussing some more recent
results integrating stochastic external stimuli into the dynamical system.

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