FIRA 2013 Plenary Speakers

Professor Jong-Hwan Kim

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

KAIST, Korea


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Keynote Speech:
The Next Technological Wave: Intelligence Technology (“IT”) for Intelligence Super-Agent

Keynote Abstract:
Information technology (IT), first coined in 1958 and booming since the early 1990s, is the application of computers and telecommunication equipments to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data. In 1990s, the concept of Information Superhighway was developed to realize the goals of IT across the globe. In a business context, it has been defined as “the study, design, development, application, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems” by the Information Technology Association of America. It has generated several associated industries, such as computer HW, SW, electronics, semiconductors, internet, telecom equipment, e-commerce and computer services..
Now we are facing a new technological challenge on how to store and retrieve knowledge and manipulate intelligence, in addition to the management of information and data, for autonomous services by intelligent systems. In this regard, the speaker has proposed “intelligence technology (“IT”) for robots that think” in his recent paper in IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine (August 2013). “IT” is the application of computers and machines to perceive and process data and information for knowledge-based reasoning and utilize their own reasoning to execute an appropriate action. “IT” covers all aspects of intelligence from perception at sensor level and reasoning at cognitive level to behavior planning at execution level for each low level segment of the machine. It is equipped with technologies for cognitive reasoning, social interaction with humans, behavior planning, ability to cooperate with other robots, ambience awareness, and an artificial genome that can be passed on to other robots. Based on these six aspects of intelligence technology, “IT” can be employed to build “Intelligence Super-Agent (iSA).” A virtual example for such an agent is VIKI (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence), an intelligent virtual super-agent from a science-fiction action film, I-Robot, released in 2004. iSA aims to augment human capabilities in perception, reasoning and actions as well as to provide intelligent supervision to lesser intelligent robots and devices within its domain
This talk presents the concept of iSA and Intelligence Operating Architecture (iOA) for realizing iSA using “IT.” iOA, inspired by human brain functions, is a modular framework that can be used as a whole or in modules to generate intelligent functions for iSA. It can be used to implement different kinds of intelligence, such as cognitive intelligence, social intelligence, behavioural intelligence, ambient intelligence, collective intelligence and genetic intelligence. To emphasize the functionality of each category of intelligence, this talk also introduces the related research outcomes for building thinking robots, i.e. “Robots That Think,” carried out at the Robot Intelligence Technology Lab., KAIST in recent years. These research outcomes include mechanisms of thought for robots, humanoid robot’s ability to choose the gaze direction, evolutionary multi-objective optimization for humanoid robot navigation, etc. Moreover, DREAM (Development of Robots Enacted through user-level Agent-based Modularization) for realising iSA and other intelligent robots through iOA are also presented. These outcomes shall pave the way to the development of iSA.
Related publications are available at

Workshop Talk:
Recent Progress and Development of Humanoid Robot “HanSaRam”: Footstep Planning and Gaze Control

A/Prof. Prahlad Vadakkepat

Associate ProfessorElectrical and Computer Engineering

National University of Singapore

4 Engineering Drive 3, Singapore 117576T: +65 6516 2296

F: +65 6779 1103


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Keynote Speech:
Bipedalism and Cognition

Keynote Abstract:
Bipedal walking is evident in the earliest hominins, but why our unique two-legged gait evolved remains unknown. Bipedalism and Cognition have a very close relationship. Bipedalism had freed the hands to create tools and start cognition. Bipedal locomotion is energetically efficient form of locomotion. Is it possible to have cognition without locomotion oris it possible to have bipedalism without cognition?

Humans have built complex environments, tools and equipment very much adapted to ourselves. Robots with human-like morphology and motion capabilities have a greater potential acting in living environments created for humans, than e.g. wheeled robots. The current focus in humanoid research is more on bipedalism than cognition. It is arguable that achieving stable and robust bipedal locomotion is essential and then to implement cognition.
The talk will touch upon the origins of bipedal locomotion and the advantages thereof. The current humanoid research focus and the importance of embodied cognition will be highlighted.
DrVadakkepat is an associate editor of the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics. He is the editor-in-chief of the Springer Handbook of Humanoids. His Humanoid robots and robot soccer teams have consistently won several international prizes. He is the founder secretary of the Federation of International Robot-soccer Association and currently it’s General Secretary.
He is a member of the National Committee on Robotics, Confederation of Indian Industry (2009~). DrVadakkepat runs the ‘Ideas for Life’ Social Entrepreneurship Challenge seeking design innovations which are simple and novel, and directs the Frugal Innovation effort of NUS.Since 1999, he is with the National University of Singapore. His research interest includes Humanoid robotics, Distributed robotic systems, Biomorphs, Neuro-Fuzzy Controllers, Intelligent Control techniques and Frugal Engineering.