COMP 790-099: Robotics

Fall 2012

Time: Tuesdays, Thursdays 11:00am - 12:15pm

Location: FB 007

Instructor: Prof. Ron Alterovitz

Office hours: Tuesdays 2pm - 3pm or by appointment, 223 Sitterson Hall


Robots are having a significant impact on our daily lives, from medicine to transportation to personal home assistance. Creating robotic systems raises a unique combination of questions in algorithm design, computational geometry, control theory, and systems engineering. This course will provide an overview of robotics with an emphasis on the computational and algorithmic aspects.

The course will begin by introducing the fundamentals of robotics systems and algorithms and then lead to discussions on current research and applications. The topics to be covered, which may be modified based on the interests of enrolled students, include:

Who should enroll: Students with interests in robotics, motion planning algorithms, graphics, and computational geometry, machine learning, as well as application areas such as those listed above. Students from Computer Science as well as other departments are welcome. For students in Computer Science, the course project report could serve as a basis for the MS Program Product requirement and/or the department technical writing requirement.

Credits: Students can register for either 1 or 3 credits. Students who register for 1 credit will be required to participate in class discussions and present 2 papers. Students who register for 3 credits will complete a project of their choice as well as a paper presentation and assignments as described below.

Grading: For 3 credits: 40% course project, 40% paper presentations/assignments, 20% participation. Each student will select the topic of his/her course project, orally present background material on the project topic, and write a final report. Each student will also complete a pair of written/programming assignments and present one paper of his or her choice. For 1 credit: 60% paper presentations, 40% participation.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level calculus, linear algebra, data structures, algorithms, and proficiency in programming (Java, Matlab, C, C++, python, or another language with permission of the instructor). Prior coursework in robotics, motion planning, or graphics is not required. Undergraduates and students from outside Computer Science who are unsure if they meet the prerequisites should contact the instructor.

Textbook: There is no required textbook for this course. Course notes, in-class handouts, and links to relevant papers will be provided.