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About me

NEWS: >>> I received the 2013 John Atanasoff award by the President of Bulgaria! <<<

Petar Kormushev

My name is Petar Kormushev. I am a Team Leader (equivalent to Assistant Professor) at the Advanced Robotics department of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), located in Genoa amidst the beautiful Italian Riviera. I am doing research in robotics and machine learning under the supervision of Prof. Darwin Caldwell.

My research is focused on reinforcement learning algorithms and their application to robot learning. You can visit the Research section for more information about my current and past research, as well as the Publications section to see my published papers. You can watch videos from my research experiments with robots in the Videos section.

At IIT, I am a team leader at the Learning and Interaction group of the Advanced Robotics department, working together with Dr. Sylvain Calinon. We develop machine learning algorithms and apply them to robots like the compliant humanoid robot COMAN, the iCub humanoid robot, the Barrett WAM arm manipulator robot, and the Fujitsu HOAP-2 small humanoid robot. This is my page at IIT.

In 2009 I obtained my PhD degree from Tokyo Institute of Technology, where I was doing research in computational intelligence under the supervision of Prof. Kaoru Hirota from Hirota Laboratory. My PhD thesis was dedicated to methods for speeding up the reinforcement learning process. I was also supervised by Visiting Prof. Kohei Nomoto from Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Visiting Prof. Shigeaki Sakurai from Toshiba Corp.

I have had the chance to collaborate with many excellent researchers in robotics and machine learning, including Prof. Dragomir N. Nenchev from Tokyo City University, Assoc. Prof. Gennady Agre from Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Barkan Ugurlu from Toyota Technological Institute. I am deeply grateful to my university lecturer Assoc. Prof. Maria Nisheva, for inspiring me to pursue studies in artificial intelligence.

In addition to my scientific research, I have more than 7 years of working experience. In 2008, I worked at Google Japan for 3 months as a software engineer in the Search Quality team. I created a prototype of a new search query categorization system (which I called Google Genus) using machine learning algorithms.

In 2005, I received my MSc degree in Artificial Intelligence from Sofia University, at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics. In 2006, shortly before going to Japan, I successfully defended my second MSc degree in Bio- and Medical Informatics. My long-term goal is to combine knowledge from different scientific fields in order to achieve synergetic effect and be able to tackle very complex problems.

Thanks for visiting my website, I wish you pleasant surfing!

— Petar


New: Special Issue on Humanoid Robotics

I am co-editing a special Issue on Humanoid Robotics for the Advanced Robotics journal of RSJ. The submission deadline for papers is: March 31, 2014   April 14, 2014

More information about this special issue

Open positions in my team

PhD positions in Robotics and Machine Learning for 2014 (deadline passed)

Post-doc position in Machine Learning for Robotics, May 2013 (deadline passed)
Post-Doc positions in Robotics at IIT for 2012 (deadline passed)
PhD positions in Robotics at IIT for 2012 (deadline passed)

In 2012, I was appointed as a co-chair of the prestigious IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Robot Learning!

“After three very successful years for the Technical Committee on Robot Learning, the founding chairs Jan Peters, Jun Morimoto, Russ Tedrake and Nicholas Roy are stepping down as chairs of the committee. They will be replaced by Petar Kormushev, Edwin Olson, Ashutosh Saxena, and Wataru Takano who have kindly agreed to take the reigns of the committee.”

WAM_visuospatial_skill_learning_150px [Oct, 2013] “Visuospatial skill learning” – a novel approach for robot learning by demonstration (visual imitation learning).
[Aug, 2011] We presented our pizza-making robot at the Robotic Challenge event of AAAI’2011 in San Francisco!

See more info and photos here.

[Apr, 2011] Submitted a new journal paper!

Kormushev, P., Ugurlu, B., Calinon, S., Tsagarakis, N., and Caldwell, D.G., “Reinforcement Learning with Evolving Policy Parameterization”, 2011, submitted.

[Mar, 2011] New conference paper was accepted to IROS 2011!Kormushev, P., Ugurlu, B., Calinon, S., Tsagarakis, N., and Caldwell, D.G., “Bipedal Walking Energy Minimization by Reinforcement Learning”, IROS 2011, accepted.
HOAP-2 erasing the white board autonomously [Dec, 2010] New conference paper!   Kormushev, P., Nenchev, D.N., Calinon, S., and Caldwell, D.G., Upper-body Kinesthetic Teaching of a Free-standing Humanoid Robot, IEEE Intl. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2011), 2011.
Robot learns to clean a whiteboard [Aug, 2010] My new research experiment: Robot learns to clean a whiteboard! A free-standing Fujitsu HOAP-2 humanoid robot learns to clean a surface by upper-body kinesthetic teaching.

Watch the experiment video in the Videos section.

Haptic input used to demonstrate force profile of a task [Nov, 2010] New journal paper! Kormushev, P., Calinon, S., and Caldwell, D.G., “Imitation learning of positional and force skills demonstrated via kinesthetic teaching and haptic input”, Advanced Robotics, 2011.
Demonstrating the ironing task [Nov, 2010] New conference workshop paper!
Kormushev, P., Calinon, S., and Caldwell, D.G., “Approaches for Learning Human-like Motor Skills which Require Variable Stiffness During Execution”, Workshop on Humanoid Robots Learning from Human Interaction (Humanoids 2010), 2010.
Robot archer [May, 2010] My new research experiment: Robot archer! An iCub humanoid robot learns the skill of archery: it learns to aim and shoot arrows at the center of the target. Check it in the Videos section.

The paper publication: “Learning the skill of archery by a humanoid robot iCub”, IEEE Intl. Conf. on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids 2010), pp. 417-423, 2010.

Pancake flipping robot [Jan, 2010] My new research experiment: Pancake flipping robot! A Barrett WAM robot learns how to flip pancakes by itself, trying to imitate a demonstration done by a human teacher.

Watch it in the Videos section.