German-Israeli Minerva School on Cognitive Robotics

CogRob Venue and Date

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany, February 24-27, 2014.


Content and subject area of the Minerva School

The  Minerva School focusses on the rapidly developing area of Cognitive Robotics. Fully autonomous robots capable of performing new tasks in complex and unknown environments and interacting with people still do not exist. For robots to actually enter real-world settings, they must be endowed with human-like cognitive capabilities to cope with dynamic, non-deterministic, and unstructured human populated environments. Thus, the robots must be equipped with advanced perception, dexterity and manipulation, as well as the ability to adapt to changing conditions and to learn new tasks efficiently. They also need the physical and behavioural characteristics that will make interaction social and agreeable to humans.

Research in this area will benefit in two ways: understanding cognitive processes in humans and animals in order to create autonomous robots that can interact intuitively with humans and in human environments, and also using insights gained in these robotic experiments in order to improve our understanding of the principles of intelligence and their applicability.

Specific topics to be addressed during the school

The  multidisciplinary school aims to bring together scholars that will present and discuss state-of-the-art research from biopsychology, physiology and neurosciences, and the ways in which research in these fields informs advances in robotics. By combining these topics, we build a new foundation for a theory of cognitive robotics and cognition in general that would not be possible by looking at each of the topics separately. Examining the relationships between perception, motion, cognition and activity are shared among the different disciplines that are represented. One strand of talks draws on the approach of Embodied Cognition and Embodied Artificial Intelligence to aim for cognitive robots that fulfil some of the requirements posed to humans.

The school will bring together senior and junior researchers from different disciplines including robotics, artificial intelligence, cognitive sciences, neurosciences, and physiology. Junior scientists will take an active part in the program. The program is designed to enable the sustained and intense discussions, which are necessary for reaping meaningful insights from different disciplines, but which are not readily possible in traditional conferences. This interdisciplinary mix provides the opportunity to interact with scholars in areas that are well within as well as outside of the scholars’ comfort zone. We hope that these multi-disciplinary encounters will provide opportunities to challenge basic assumptions within each field, and to spark new ways of considering existing issues. Moreover, we hope that they will help junior scientists to develop broader perspectives.

Minerva LogoFunding
The German-Israeli Minerva School on Cognitive Robotics is funded by the Minerva Foundation directed by the Max-Planck Society and BMBF.


Practical Information
event location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Informatik Humboldt-Kabinett (House 4, 1st floor) Rudower Chaussee 25 Berlin-Adlershof Berlin, Germany

Related Events
The school takes place just before HRI 2014, the leading conference on human-robot interaction (HRI Bielefeld, March 3-6, 2014).


Verena Hafner