CSE Colloquium: Computational Methods for Developing Agile and Intelligent Robots

Abstract: Recent advances in both software and hardware opened a new horizon of robotics: algorithms generated impressive dynamic motions in simulation and hardware became powerful enough to execute human-level stunts. However, the current state-of-the-art robots are yet far from navigating and interacting in the real world due to lack of agility, robustness, efficiency, and safety. Therefore, we need to improve these features by building more intelligent control software and effective hardware mechanisms. This is a challenging research direction that involves complex optimization of control parameters, software architectures, and mechanical designs, where all the decisions jointly affect the motor capability of the robot. My research tackles these challenges by inventing novel optimization algorithms combined with prior knowledge and developing mathematical models for predicting the final performance of new robots, where my on-going work develops agile motion controllers, interactive design software, and sim-to-real techniques. In the long term, I aim to develop robotic companions in our home, search-and-rescue robots in disaster scenes, and custom medical surgery robots that are tailored to individual patients.

Biography:  Sehoon Ha is currently a research scientist at Google Brain. Before joining Google, he worked at Carnegie Mellon University as a postdoctoral researcher and Disney Research as an associate research scientist. He received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research interests lie at the intersection between computer graphics and robotics, including physics-based animation, deep reinforcement learning, and computational robot design. His work has been published at top-tier venues including ACM Transactions on Graphics, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, and International Journal of Robotics Research, nominated as the best conference paper (Top 3) in Robotics: Science and Systems, and featured in the popular media press such as IEEE Spectrum, MIT Technology Review, PBS News Hours, and Wired.


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Media Contact: Robert Collins



The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research in fields.

We offer B.S. degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering and data science and graduate degrees (master's degrees and Ph.D.'s) in electrical engineering and computer science and engineering. EECS focuses on the convergence of technologies and disciplines to meet today’s industrial demands.

School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

The Pennsylvania State University

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Department of Computer Science and Engineering


Department of Electrical Engineering