ICRA 2020 Proposed Workshop

Task Representations for Manipulation under Uncertainty

June 4, 2020 | Paris, France


Building autonomous robots capable of performing challenging manipulation tasks is an overarching goal of robotics and AI community. Recent progress in robot perception and learning has moved the needle significantly toward this goal. However, many of these developments are still confined to structured home laboratory settings. To move to unstructured, real-world scenarios, such as uncontrolled and often cluttered household or office environments, and achieve robustness in task completion we encounter two main challenges: 1) large variations across task instances and environments, and 2) uncertainty about the exact state as well as unmodeled artifacts in the real world environments.

Consider the task of assembling IKEA furniture in your home. Each furniture has variations in their assembling procedure, however, they do have similarities in each of the subtasks. A generalized task representation should account for these variations and similarities. The robust task execution in real world is fundamentally tied to the interpretation and distillation of task-relevant information and world knowledge into a useful representation. This task representation has to be sufficient to plan and control robot interactions, in the face of uncertainty. Uncertainty arises from many places including the variety of real world environments as well as variability in outcomes of robot action execution. We posit that a generalized task representation that accommodates aforementioned real world uncertainties is key toward realizing personal robots that can perform long horizon manipulation tasks.

In this workshop we wish to bring in researchers from all domains (robot perception, planning, control, knowledge representation, and machine learning) and discuss approaches and challenges to develop task representations that deal with uncertainty. Our goal is to formalize the effectiveness of a task representation in face of uncertainty and arrive at a set of critical challenges and open questions. We hope to spark discussions towards common task-representations, scalable approaches, learning based solutions, model based and model free approaches that will be vital for the robotics community at large.


We solicit 3 page extended abstracts (page counts do not include references). On acceptance, the camera ready version can be a full paper upto 6 pages (excluding references). Submissions can include original research, position papers, and literature reviews that bridge the research areas for this workshop. Submissions will be externally reviewed, and selected based on technical content and ability to positively contribute to the workshop. All accepted contributions will be presented in interactive poster sessions. A subset of accepted contributions will be featured in the workshop as spotlight presentations.

The following list contains some areas of interest, but work in other areas is also welcomed:

  • Task representations across sense, plan, and control areas
  • Task representations with explicit uncertainty
  • Task representations in object grasping and manipulation
  • Task representations in navigation and mobile manipulation
  • Reusable / scalable / transferable task representation
  • Dynamic task representations
  • Knowledge representation and reasoning
  • Representation learning
  • Interactive perception
  • Task and motion planning (TAMP)
  • Learning from demonstration
  • Hierarchical / multi task representations
  • Methodologies for task assessment

We will accept papers in the official IEEE templates (LaTeX and Word). Submissions must meet page restrictions (maximum of 3 pages for extended abstracts and 6 pages for full papers), but can include additional pages as long as those pages only contain references. Reviewing will not be double blind. Please do not anonymize the submission.

Papers and abstracts should be submitted through the following link: TBD.

Important Dates

(deadlines are "anywhere on earth")

Apr 26
Extended abstract submission deadline
May 10
Notification of acceptance
May 24
Camera ready deadline for full paper
Jun 4


Workshop: TBD

Poster: TBD


All accepted contributions will be presented in interactive poster sessions. We strongly recommend adhering to the following poster size:

Potrait configuration: 32 inch (width) x (40 inch height)

We derived this size from the following data. Each poster stand has a usable area of 74 inch (width) x 38 inch (height). This area will be split among two posters appearing side by side. Unfortunately, ICRA organizers have notified us of limited availability of stands and space. Hence we kindly urge the presenters to adhere to the specified dimensions.

Note that the poster session will take place in a different room from the main workshop. This room is available from 2.00 p.m to 7.00 p.m. The presenters should setup soon after lunch and be near their stands. Please check the schedule for the room number and the timings.

Contributions selected for spotlight presentations should prepare a 5 minute talk. This will be followed by 1 minute of audience questions. During this time the next presenter should set up. All presenters should check in during the first coffee break and verify display settings. Please check the schedule for the presentation order.



Workshop: TBD

Poster: TBD

Time Topic Speaker
08:45 - 09:00am Introduction TBD
09:00 - 09:30am TBD TBD
09:30 - 10:00am TBD TBD
10:00 - 10:30am Coffee break
10:30 - 11:00am TBD TBD
11:00 - 11:30am TBD TBD
11:30 - 12:00am TBD TBD
12:00 - 13:00pm Spotlight Talks I
13:00 - 14:00pm Lunch
14:00 - 14:30pm TBD TBD
14:30 - 15:00pm TBD TBD
15:00 - 15:30pm TBD TBD
15:30 - 16:00pm Spotlight Talks II + Poster Session
16:00 - 16:30pm Poster Session
16:30 - 17:00pm TBD TBD
17:00 - 17:30pm TBD TBD
17:30 - 18:30pm Panel Discussions All Invited Speakers

Tentatively accepted speakers


Jeannette Bohg, Stanford University


Oliver Brock, Technische Universität Berlin


Dieter Fox, University of Washington


Leslie Pack Kaelbling, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


George Konidaris, Brown University


Oliver Kroemer, Carnegie Mellon University


Scott Niekum , University of Texas at Austin


Shuran Song, Columbia University


Stefanie Tellex, Brown University


Organizing Committee


Daehyung Park

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Karthik Desingh

University of Michigan


Roberto Martin Martin

Stanford University


Jake Varley

Robotics at Google


Sanjiban Choudhury

University of Washington