Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Principal Investigator

Thomas Howard

Email: thoward@ece.rochester.edu

Websites: Department, Personal, Google Scholar

Keywords: robotics, artificial intelligence, robot motion planning, natural language understanding, model learning


Thomas Howard Thomas Howard is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Rochester. He also holds secondary appointments in the Department of Computer Science, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Department of Neuroscience and is a member of the Goergen Institute for Data Science. Previously he held appointments as a Research Scientist and a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the Robust Robotics Group, a Research Technologist II at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the Robotic Software Systems group and a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Caltech. He earned his Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University and holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Rochester.

Doctoral Students

Jacob Arkin

Email: jarkin@ur.rochester.edu

Websites: Google Scholar

Keywords: robotics, natural language understanding, interactive learning, semantic representations


Jake Arkin Jake Arkin is a Ph.D. student in the University of Rochester's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, having received both a Bachelor's and Master's Degree of ECE from the University of Rochester as well. Jake is interested in the challenge of providing robots with the capacity to cooperate and collaborate with humans in a variety of tasks and domains. His research primarily leverages probabilistic graphical models for natural language interaction as a solution to the problem, looking at both language understanding and language generation capabilities with an emphasis on efficient inference. Key contributions include novel model approximations to achieve real-time understanding of abstract spatial concepts, a context-aware model for understanding sequences of complex instructions, a model for verifiable execution of grounded language instructions repairable through dialogue interaction, and a proactive language grounding process that bootstraps online inference to facilitate real-time physically situated dialogue in complex environments.

Michael Napoli


Michael Napoli Michael Napoli is a PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Rochester. Previously he worked as an engineer at the Exelis Geospatial Systems Image Science division in Rochester, NY. He earned a Master of Science in Electical Engineering from SUNY Binghamton in 2012 and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Syracuse University in 2010. His current work includes the development of a probabilistically adaptive motion planning algorithm. His interests are in motion planning, machine learning, robot vision, localization and controls for experimental robotics.

Nathan Kent


Nathan Kent Nathan Kent is a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Rochester. He received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Iowa State University in 2016.

Siddharth Patki


Siddharth Patki Siddharth Patki is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering at the University of Rochester. He earned his B.Tech degree in Electronics Engineering from Pune University, India. His research focuses on developing models of visual perception for robots. His current research lies at the intersection of computer vision and natural language understanding where he is evaluating the ways in which language can be leveraged to make perception more efficient for robot manipulators. He is a Hajim School of Engineering Dean's Fellow, and a Scholar at the Rochester CoE in Data Science.

Undergraduate Research Assistants & Research Fellows

Ian Lawson


Ian Lawson Ian Lawson is an undergradaute at the University of Rochester studying Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is a research assistant in the lab currently working on movement and balance control on the Robotis OP2 humanoid platform. His interests in robotics lie in motion planning of mobile articulated systems and robot-human interaction.

Liam Heeger


Liam Heeger Liam Heeger is an undergradaute at the University of Rochester studying Computer Science. He was a 2017 Xerox Engineering Research Fellow and is currently an undergraduate research assistant.

Alumni and Visitors

University of Rochester students affiliated with the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have gone on to graduate studies, industry positions, and start-up companies. Below is a list of laboratory alumni who served as Xerox Engineering Research Fellows, National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Fellows, and/or undergraduate and graduate research assistants.

Several of the laboratory alumni have completed graduate research resulting in a masters and/or doctoral thesis. Below is a list of students affiliated with the University of Rochester's Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory who have succesfully defended a thesis as part of their graduate degree program.

The laboratory has also hosted a number of visitors through visiting student and research fellow programs. Below is a list of past visitors to the University of Rochester's Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.