EECS Special Seminar: Pulkit Agrawal "Computational Sensorimotor Learning"


Pulkit Agrawal


Tomas Lozano-Perez
Abstract: An open question in artificial intelligence is how to endow agents with common sense knowledge that humans naturally seem to possess. A prominent theory in child development posits that human infants gradually acquire such knowledge by the process of experimentation. According to this theory, even the seemingly frivolous play of infants is a manifestation of experiments conducted by them to learn about their environment. Inspired by this view of biological sensorimotor learning, I will present my work on building artificial agents that use the paradigm of experimentation to explore and condense their experience into models that enable them to solve new problems. I will discuss the effectiveness of my approach and open issues using case studies of a robot learning to push objects, manipulate ropes, finding its way in office environments and an agent learning to play video games merely based on the incentive of conducting experiments.

Bio: Pulkit is a Ph.D. Student in the department of computer science at UC Berkeley and Co-Founder of SafelyYou Inc. He is advised by Dr. Jitendra Malik and his research spans robotics, deep learning, computer vision and computational neuroscience. Pulkit completed his bachelors in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kanpur and was awarded the Director’s Gold Medal. His work has appeared multiple times in MIT Tech Review, Quanta, New Scientist, NYPost etc. He is a recipient of Signatures Fellow Award, Fulbright Science and Technology Award, Goldman Sachs Global Leadership Award, OPJEMS, Sridhar Memorial Prize and IIT Kanpur’s Academic Excellence Awards among others. Pulkit holds a “Sangeet Prabhakar” (equivalent to bachelors in Indian classical music) and occasionally performs in music concerts.