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PhD thesis

In December 2012 I have defended my PhD thesis in LISSI laboratory, part of Université Paris-Est Créteil in Paris. The abstract of my thesis is below. The full text can be downloaded here: PhD thesis Dominik M. Ramík (PDF, 5,6MB). The director of my thesis was profesor Kurosh Madani and I have been much helped by doctor Christophe Sabourin. More about my life in Paris during my PhD is on the page about my travels.

Nao, the robot on which I was verifying most of my research.

Contribution to Complex Visual Information Processing and Autonomous Knowledge Extraction: Application to Autonomous Robotics

Abstract: The work accomplished in this thesis concerns development of an autonomous machine cognition system. The proposed solution reposes on the assumption that it is the curiosity which motivates a cognitive system to acquire new knowledge. Further, two distinct kinds of curiosity are identified in conformity to human cognitive system. On this I build a two level cognitive architecture. I identify its lower level with the perceptual saliency mechanism, while the higher level performs knowledge acquisition from observation and interaction with the environment. This thesis brings the following contribution: A) Investigation of the state of the art in autonomous knowledge acquisition. B) Realization of a lower cognitive level in the ensemble of the mentioned system, which is realizing the perceptual curiosity mechanism through a novel fast, real-world robust algorithm for salient object detection and learning. C) Realization of a higher cognitive level through a general framework for knowledge acquisition from observation and interaction with the environment including humans. Based on the epistemic curiosity, the high-level cognitive system enables a machine (e.g. a robot) to be itself the actor of its learning. An important consequence of this system is the possibility to confer high level multimodal cognitive capabilities to robots to increase their autonomy in real-world environment (human environment). D) Realization of the strategy proposed in the context of autonomous robotics. The studies and experimental validations done had confirmed notably that our approach allows increasing the autonomy of robots in real-world environment.

Nao, the robot