Workshop description


Recent advances in robot learning are heavily dependent on deep learning approaches, which typically need significant computing power, long training times and large amounts of data. While excellent at solving specific tasks, the solutions produced by deep learning architectures tend to be unpredictably brittle. Biological organisms such as insects on the other hand have evolved robust intelligence and fast learning with sparse data and limited computational power. Learning in biological systems is an active process emerging from the interaction of evolved brains, bodies and behaviours, employing a combination of behavioural strategies and specialised sensors that actively structure sensory input while selective attention drives learning to the most salient information, massively reducing the search space.

This full-day workshop will bring together experts from robotics, neuroethology, behavioural neuroscience, computational neuroscience, reinforcement learning and deep learning, to discuss challenges, synergies and to explore new directions towards rapid and robust robot learning, driven by behavioural strategies for active sensing and selective attention mechanisms.

The workshop will consist of invited talks, spotlight presentations, a poster session and  interdisciplinary panel discussions. We aim to improve the communication across a diverse set of scientists who are at various stages of their careers. To promote dialogue regardless of seniority we will encourage senior presenters to share their presentations with PhD students or postdocs who have contributed to the research. To support critical discussions, we will also encourage all presenters to include a description of limitations of their work.

Workshop topics

The focus topics for our workshop include, but are not restricted to:

  • Zero-shot, one-shot and few-shot learning in robots
  • Active learning in animals and robots
  • Active sensing
  • Selective attention

The questions we aim to address in the workshop:

  • How to curate sensory information via selective attention mechanisms?
  • How to structure sensory information via directed behaviour?
  • How multi-sensory integration can contribute to rapid learning?
  • How to bootstrap learning via selective attention?

Invited Speakers

Hava Sigelmann
University of Massachusetts
Jean-Baptiste Mouret
Deepak Pathak
Carnegie Mellon University
Michael Mangan
University of Sheffield and Opteran Technologies
Michael Milford
Queensland University of Technology
Todd D. Murphey
Northwestern University
P.L. Lanillos Pradas
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
Kristen Grauman
University of Texas
Andrew Philippides
University of Sussex
Danish Shaikh
University of Southern Denmark


Date: 10 July 2023

Location: Room 325D, Daegu Exhibition & Convention Center (EXCO)

09:00 – 09:10Welcome by organisers
09:10 – 09:35Invited Talk #1 – Hava Sigelmann (in-person)
09:35 – 10:00Invited Talk #2 – Michael Milford (online)
10:00 – 10:25Invited Talk #3 – Michael Mangan (in-person)
10:30 – 11:00Coffee Break & Poster Sessions (30 min.)
11:00 – 11:25Invited Talk #4 – Danish Shaikh (in-person)
11:25 – 11:50Invited Talk #5 – Deepak Pathak (online)
12:00 – 13:30Lunch break (1.5 hrs.)
13:30 – 14:00Q&A + Panel Discussion (Moderator: Danish Shaikh)

– Curating sensory information via selective attention mechanisms
– Structuring sensory information via directed behaviour
14:00 – 14:25Invited Talk #6 – Andrew Philippides (online)
14:25 – 14:50Invited Talk #7 – Jean-Baptiste Mouret (online)
15:00 – 15:30Coffee Break & Poster Sessions (30 min.)
15:30 – 15:55Invited Talk #8 – Amany Amin (in-person)
15:55 – 16:20Invited Talk #9 – P.L. Lanillos Pradas (online)
16:20 – 17:20Q&A + Panel Discussion (Moderator: Danish Shaikh)

– Contribution of multi-sensory integration in rapid learning
– Bootstrapping learning via selective attention
17:20 – 17:30Concluding remarks

Paper and poster submission

Important dates:

  • Paper and poster submission deadline: 23:59 AoE, 14 May 2023
  • Notification of acceptance: 11 June 2023
  • Workshop date: 10 July 2023

Submission guidelines:

  • Submitted papers and posters must directly address the workshop’s topics (see Workshop topics).
  • Papers must be a minimum of 2 and maximum of 4 pages in length (excluding references).
  • Please submit papers in PDF format, using the RSS 2023 template for papers submissions is available in LaTeX and Word. Please use the following format for the filename for papers – “<Lastname><Firstname>_r3al2023.pdf” (without the ‘<‘ and ‘>’).
  • Posters must be a single page (A1 or A0 size PDF) in either landscape or portrait format. Please use the following format for the filename for posters – “<Lastname><Firstname>_poster_r3al2023.pdf” (without the ‘<‘ and ‘>’).
  • Please use the paper submission form below to upload your paper and/or poster (note that the form will not accept a submission without the corresponding author’s email address). Corresponding authors will receive a confirmation e-mail upon successful submission.

Paper and poster submission form:


Danish Shaikh
University of Southern Denmark
Andrew Philippides
University of Sussex
Paul Graham
University of Sussex
Thomas Nowotny
University of Sussex