Cognitive Robotics Using the Soar Cognitive Architecture

AAAI Conferences

Our long-term goal is to develop autonomous robotic systems that have the cognitive abilities of humans, including communication, coordination, adapting to novel situations, and learning through experience. Our approach rests on the integration of the Soar cognitive architecture with both virtual and physical robotic systems. Soar has been used to develop a wide variety of knowledge-rich agents for complex virtual environments, including distributed training environments and interactive computer games. For development and testing in robotic virtual environments, Soar interfaces to a variety of robotic simulators and a simple mobile robot. We have recently made significant extensions to Soar that add new memories and new non-symbolic reasoning to Soar’s original symbolic processing, which improves Soar abilities for control of robots. These extensions include mental imagery, episodic and semantic memory, reinforcement learning, and continuous model learning. This paper presents research in mobile robotics, relational and continuous model learning, and learning by situated, interactive instruction.


Learning Grounded Language through Situated Interactive Instruction

AAAI Conferences

We present an approach for learning grounded language from mixed-initiative human-robot interaction. Prior work on learning from human instruction has concentrated on acquisition of task-execution knowledge from domain-specific language. In this work, we demonstrate acquisition of linguistic, semantic, perceptual, and procedural knowledge from mixed-initiative, natural language dialog. Our approach has been instantiated in a cognitive architecture, Soar, and has been deployed on a table-top robotic arm capable of picking up small objects. A preliminary analysis verifies the ability of the robot to acquire diverse knowledge from human-robot interaction.


DIARC: A Testbed for Natural Human-Robot Interaction

AAAI Conferences

DIARC, a distributed integrated affect, reflection, cognition architecture for robots, provides many features that are critical to successful natural human-robot interaction. As such, DIARC is an ideal platform for experimentation in HRI. In this paper we describe the architecture and and its implementation in ADE, paying particular attention to its interaction capabilities and features that allow robust operation. These features are evaluated in the context of the 2006 AAAI Robot Competition.


Designing a Robot Cognitive Architecture with Concurrency and Active Perception

AAAI Conferences

We are implementing ADAPT, a cognitive architecture for a Pioneer mobile robot, to give the robot the full range of cognitive abilities including perception, use of natural language, learning and the ability to solve complex problems. Our perspective is that an architecture based on a unified theory of robot cognition has the best chance of attaining human-level performance. Existing work in cognitive modeling has accomplished much in the construction of such unified cognitive architectures in areas other than robotics; however, there are major respects in which these architectures are inadequate for robot cognition. This paper examines two major inadequacies of current cognitive architectures for robotics: the absence of support for true concurrency and for active perception.


Memory-Centred Architectures: Perspectives on Human-Level Cognitive Competencies

AAAI Conferences

In the context of cognitive architectures, memory is typically considered as a passive storage device with the sole purpose of maintaining and retrieving information relevant to ongoing cognitive processing. If memory is instead considered to be a fundamentally active aspect of cognition, as increasingly suggested by empirically-derived neurophysiological theory, this passive role must be reinterpreted. In this perspective, memory is the distributed substrate of cognition, forming the foundation for cross-modal priming, and hence soft cross-modal coordination. This paper seeks to describe what a cognitive architecture based on this perspective must involve, and initiates an exploration into how human-level cognitive competencies (namely episodic memory, word label conjunction learning, and social behaviour) can be accounted for in such a low-level framework. This proposal of a memory-centred cognitive architecture presents new insights into the nature of cognition, with benefits for computational implementations such as generality and robustness that have only begun to be exploited.