The University of Southampton

ECS Annual Professor Geoffrey Sims Christmas Lecture - Event

8th of December, 2017  @  15:30 - 17:00
Building 2 (2) - 1085
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Event details

2017 Guest Speaker: Professor Katia Sycara

Carnegie Mellon University

Robotics Institute, School of Computer Science

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US


Trust in Human Interaction with Robot Systems


As robotic platforms become cheaper and more reliable, they are increasingly going to be autonomously interacting with people for multiple tasks ranging from service robots in the home or work, to environmental exploration, search and rescue and crisis response. In all these interactions human trust in the autonomy is a very important ingredient. To engender trust, robots must be social, in the sense of considering social norms in their domain decision making. Additionally, as these agents become more sophisticated and independent via learning and interaction, it is critical for their human counterparts to understand their behaviors, the reasoning process behind those behaviors, and the expected outcomes to properly calibrate their trust in the systems and make appropriate decisions. In other words for human intelligibility of an agent's decisions, the agent needs to be transparent. Developing effective ways for autonomous systems to be socially-aware, trustworthy and transparent faces multiple challenges, foremost that the notion of trust, transparency have no unique definitions in the literature, and the role of social norms and their relations is not well understood. Moreover, human cognitive limitations, algorithmic scalability and opacity of sophisticated algorithms pose additional serious technical difficulties as to amount and type of information provided by the autonomous system to the human for trust based interaction.


In this talk, I will present some of our recent work on trust, transparency and social norms. In particular, I will present our trust and transparency framework in the context of human interaction with autonomously coordinating robotic swarms as well as our first attempts at transparency in deep neural networks for reinforcement learning and our work on social norm aware engineered systems.

Speaker information

Professor Katia Sycara is a professor in the Robotics Institute, School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University internationally known for her research in artificial intelligence, particularly in the fields of negotiation, autonomous agents and multi-agent systems. She directs the Advanced Agent-Robotics Technology Lab at Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University. She also serves as academic advisor for PhD students at both Robotics Institute and Tepper School of Business.

Born in Greece, she went to the United States to pursue advanced education through various scholarships, including a Fulbright (1965-1969). She received a BS in Applied Mathematics from Brown University, MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and PhD in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Aegean in 2004.

Professor Sycara is a pioneer in the field of semantic web, case-based reasoning, autonomous agents and multi-agent systems. She has authored or co-authored more than 700 technical papers dealing with multi-agent systems, software agents, web services, semantic web, human–computer interaction, human-robot interaction, negotiation, case-based reasoning and the application of these techniques to crisis action planning, scheduling, manufacturing, healthcare management, financial planning and e-commerce. She has led multimillion-dollar research effort funded by DARPA, NASA, AFOSR, ONR, AFRL, NSF and industry.

Professor Sycara is a Fellow of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and a Fellow of American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). She is the recipient of the 2002 ACM/ SIGART Agents Research Award. She is also the recipient of the 2015 Group Decision and Negotiation (GDN) Award of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) GDN Section for her outstanding contributions to the field of group decision and negotiation.

In 2005, she received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Professor Sycara is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems; Editor-in-Chief, of the Springer Series on Agents; and Area Editor of AI and Management Science, the journal "Group Decision and Negotiation."

She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of France Telecom, 2003-2009; member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute of Informatics and Telecommunications of the Greek National Research Center Demokritos, 2004-2012; member of the AAAI Executive Council (1996–99); member of the OASIS Technical committee on the development of UDDI (Universal Description and Discovery for Interoperability) software which is an industry standard; and an invited expert for W3C (the World Wide Web Consortium) Working Group on Web Services Architecture. She was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the International Foundation of Multiagent Systems (IFMAS), and founding member of the Semantic Web Science Association.

Sycara served as the program chair of the Second International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2003); general chair, of the Second International Conference on Autonomous Agents (Agents 98); chair of the Steering Committee of the Agents Conference (1999–2001); scholarship chair of AAAI (1993–1999); and the US co-chair for the US-Europe Semantic Web Services Initiative.


Please note: this event is open to ECS staff and postgraduate students only and places are limited. Registration closes Friday 1 December.

To register for this event, please click here
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