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My Research

Hi! I’m Anthony Francis, and I design intelligent machines and emotional robots, focusing on deep reinforcement learning for indoor robot navigation. My original research page http://www.dresan.com/research/ details my thesis work on contextual memory. More recently, I’ve focused on robotics, first emotional robotics and later robot navigation. More information can be found in the subpages below:

I am the founder of Logical Robotics, a consulting firm specializing in the design and construction of skilled, interpretable, social and efficient intelligent agents. My research involves organizing and promoting the Embodied AI Workshop, the premiere workshop exploring the science of machine learning applied to interactive worlds, and social robot navigation work such as the Social Navigation Symposium.

Until recently,  I was a researcher (bio pagearchived)  for Robotics at Google, focusing on robotics for reinforcement learning and reinforcement learning for robotics. My work there involved making robot navigation more reliable using approaches that combine deep reinforcement learning, evolutionary computation, and “traditional” probabilistic motion planning approaches which were the snazzy new thing when I started my PhD work, and which still do the job pretty well now.

My PhD research focused on contextual memory: how implicit context helps us retrieve and use information more appropriately. This can include not just memory for facts, but memory for emotion: annotating experiences with the emotions they cause can be used to learn emotional responses that are appropriate for different situations.

My other research interests include programming language design, interactive fiction, natural language understanding, animal cognition, cognitive science, intelligent agents, and physics, particularly general relativity. For more information, check out the subpages, or read recent posts below:

Posts About Intelligence … Broadly Construed 🙂

Announcing Logical Robotics

So, I’m proud to announce my next venture: Logical Robotics, a robot intelligence firm focused on making learning robots work better for people. My research agenda is to combine the…

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phewww ….

… finally, a chance to catch a break. It’s been a difficult few weeks due to “the Kerfluffle” which I hope to blog about shortly (those on my LinkedIn have…

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Ugh, WordPress updates edition …

… the block editor of WordPress seems to be making my old non-block-editor posts turn into solid walls of text. See the post “Pascal’s Wager and Purchasing Parsley“: Yeah, it’s…

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Once again, I’m running deep learning on a Macbook …

… and the trick to getting it working was, as usual, “working just a little bit harder than you want to“. Shortly after my last post, I got REINFORCE, a…

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The Embodied AI Workshop is Tomorrow, Sunday, June 20th!

What happens when deep learning hits the real world? Find out at the Embodied AI Workshop this Sunday, June 20th! We’ll have 8 speakers, 3 live Q&A sessions with questions…

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He thinks he invented Java because he was in the room when someone made coffee

… came up as my wife and I were discussing the “creative hangers-on form” of Stigler’s Law. The original Stigler’s Law, discovered by Roger Merton and popularized by Stephen Stigler,…

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The Embodied AI Workshop at CVPR 2021

Hail, fellow adventurers: to prove I do something more than just draw and write, I’d like to send out a reminder of the Second Embodied AI Workshop at the CVPR…

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A Bayesian Account of Miracles

Christianity is a tall ask for many skeptically-minded people, especially if you come from the South, where a lot of folks express Christianity in terms of having a close personal…

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The Soul is the Form of the Body

If you’ve ever gone to a funeral, watched a televangelist, or been buttonholed by a street preacher, you’ve probably heard Christianity is all about saving one’s immortal soul – by…

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Day 057

Alan Turing, rendered over my own roughs using several layers of tracing paper. I started with the below rough, in which I tried to pay careful attention to the layout…

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