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Presentation at The Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava

I was invited to present my research at The Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava and the time and venue have just been confirmed. If you are interested in the subject and live somewhere near then pop over, it would be great to meet some of my fellow Slovakians :)



Humans are able to acquire many skilled behaviors during their lifetimes. The learning of complex behaviours is achieved through a constant repetition of the same movements over and over, with certain components segmented into reusable elements known as motor primitives. These motor primitives are then flexibly reused and dynamically integrated into novel sequences of actions.

Several action learning models have been proposed that implement functional hierarchies via explicit hierarchical structures, such as the MOSAIC model or the mixture of multiple recurrent neural networks expert systems. However, it has been demonstrated that the similarities between various sensorimotor sequences result in competition between various motor primitive modules leading to a conflict between generalisation and segmentation. Generalisation requires the representation of motor primitives through many similar patterns present in the same module whereas different primitives need to be represented in different modules to achieve a good segmentation of sensorimotor patterns. Because of the conflict that arises when there is an overlap between different sensorimotor sequences, it is not possible to increase the number of motor primitives by simply adding extra low-level modules.

This talk will present novel results of complex action learning based on a multiple timscales recurrent neural network (MTRNN) model embodied in the iCub humanoid robot. This model attempts to overcome the generalisation-segmentation problem through the realisation of functional hierarchy that is neither based on the separate modules nor on a structural hierarchy but realised through multiple time-scales of neural activities. In addition, the model was implemented as part of Aquila cognitive robotics toolkit resulting in acceleration of learning experiments through the CUDA architecture, which makes use of massively parallel GPU devices that significantly outperform standard CPU processors on parallel tasks. The new experiments use extended MTRNN models to train the iCub to acquire reusable motor primitives. These will be subsequently used in experiments on the simultaneous acquisition of motor and linguistic skills, and the exploitation of compositional structure in both sensorimotor and linguistic representations. 


Venue, Date and Time

Faculty of Electronics and Informatics at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava

4th July 2011 at 10:00 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 14:11
Aquila 1.6b released

New version of Aquila is out and uploaded to Aquila, RobotCub and iTalk repositories. This version includes significant improvements, additions and bug fixes. One of the most important addition is the new Simulator module.

The Simulator module aims to simplify video projection and object management within the iCub simulator by providing easy to use graphical interfaces and making use of already present image processing tools.

Video Projection Submodule:

  • local and remote video projection
  • projection from a selected camera connected to a host machine (currently up to two cameras)
  • projection from a selected YARP port
  • integration with the Vision class, which is GPU-accelerated and can take any stream and apply available image processing on top of your video stream (see the videos below)

Objects Management Submodule:

  • interfaces with the latest additions to the object management within the iCub simulator
  • creates/deletes/modifies any object including 3D models (positions, rotations, coulours, sizes can be adjusted in realtime)
  • saves and loads your objects from XML file

 Aquila 1.6 - the simulator's object management submodule




Scientific Paper

New Aquila Facebook Fan Page

Aquila Software Repository


Last Updated on Monday, 02 May 2011 00:06
Black Eye Galaxy
Last Updated on Sunday, 24 April 2011 14:00
Portrait Pics for Student Project in Photography

Benny J. Johnoson, who previously came to our lab to photograph the iCub for his student project, paid a visit to the lab again. This time he was interested in taking portrait pictures of people involved in the research so I have uploaded some of those here.

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 April 2011 18:23
New Publications

I have received a confirmation today that our paper on Aquila was accepted for publication for the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN2011). I can only share the version I have initially submitted due to copyright reasons, however, there will not be significant differences between the two. 

Aquila: An Open-Source GPU-Accelerated Toolkit for Cognitive Robotics Research


Also, I have submitted a new paper named "Multiple Time Scales Recurrent Neural Network for Complex Action Acquisition" to the IEEE Conference on Development and Learning, and Epigenetic Robotics abstract of which is below.

"This paper presents novel results of complex action learning experiments based on the use of extended multiple time- scales recurrent neural networks (MTRNN). The experiments were carried out with the iCub humanoid robot, as a model of the developmental learning of motor primitives as the basis of sensorimotor and linguistic compositionality. The model was implemented through the Aquila cognitive robotics toolkit, which supports the CUDA parallel processing language and makes use of massively parallel GPU (graphics processing unit). The results presented herein show that the model was able to learn and successfully reproduce multiple behavioural sequences of actions in an object manipulation task scenario using large-scale MTRNNs. This forms the basis on ongoing experiments on action and language compositionality."

See all publications


Last Updated on Monday, 11 April 2011 15:46
Alien House Power Grid

Today we have installed a new alternative power grid in our Alien House based on solar and wind energy. We need more batteries now :D

Solar panels on our rooftop terrace

solar panels

The Vertical Axis Wind Turbine mounted on our chimney

vertical axis wind turbine 

Click here to see complete Alien House Power Grid album.

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 March 2011 20:07
Rome 2011

We had an iTalk project meeting in Rome so in the spare time I went for a bit of sightseeing as well as really good underground party :)

Click here to see the whole Rome 2011 album.

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 March 2011 20:11
Aquila 1.5 beta released

Aquila 1.5 beta has been released and uploaded to iTalk, iCub and Aquila SourceForge repositories. This release marks a significant step towards to the main objectives of the project, it is more stable, efficient and provides more interesting features. 

Aquila currently runs on Linux and can be downloaded from the SVN using:

svn co aquila

Last Updated on Monday, 14 March 2011 23:47
The Whirlpool Galaxy
Last Updated on Sunday, 24 April 2011 01:31
The Evidence for Extraterrestrial Life

New scientific paper was published yesterday in a peer-reviewed journal of cosmology. It seems that this paper is going to change the way we think about the origins of life on planet Earth often thought to be just right for the development of life. This apparent uniqueness (often advocated by Christians) started breaking down after we found many species that can exist in hostile conditions with extreme temperatures and pH. Recently we have found bacteria that can build its DNA from arsenic, which have dramatically increased the likelhood of life being presnet within our solar system (good candidates are Saturn's moon Titan and Enceladus as well as Jupiter's moon Europa).

Dr. Richard B. Hoover, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has found conclusive evidence of extraterrestrial life. Richard analised an extremely rare class of meteorite called CI1 carbonaceous chondrites and found fossils of bacteria that did not form on Earth. The implications are that life is everywhere, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets.

read the whole publication


Last Updated on Sunday, 06 March 2011 20:47
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