Grounded Language Learning by Robots

Cynthia Matuszek, Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

The Interactive Robotics and Language lab is a research laboratory in UMBC’s Computer Science and Electrical Engineering department. We study robotics and natural language processing, with the goal of bringing the fields together: developing robots that everyday people can talk to, telling them to do tasks or about the world around them. This approach to learning to understand language in the physical space that people and robots occupy is called grounded language acquisition. Our goal is to build robots that can perform tasks in noisy, real-world environments, instead of being pre-emptively programmed to handle a fixed set of predetermined tasks. The aim of our research program is to construct robots that interact with people seamlessly in unanticipated, dynamic environments and problem spaces. We focus on statistical learning approaches that let robots learn about the world entirely from multimodal interactions with end users.