Older blog entries for Petar.Kormushev (starting at number 20)

Writing good scientific papers

Good papers are like good wine: they need time to mature.

Of course, there are a few jerks out there, as Marc Raibert puts it, who can write perfect manuscripts on the first try, but if you’re reading this, I assume you are not one of these disgusting individuals.

So, for the rest of us mortals, I have tried to collect advice from various sources about how to write good scientific papers. Also, I contribute some of my own humble personal experience.

One of my most favourite papers on this topic is, without doubt, Marc Raibert’s paper about “Spilling the beans”. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so!
I totally agree with Raibert, and always try to “spill the beans” in my own papers as much and as early as possible.

Another classic in the genre is Jim Kajiya’s article “How to Get Your SIGGRAPH Paper Rejected”.

The “Cargo Cult Science”, as named by Richard Feynman, is a must-see for all researchers, in my opinion. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I recommend watching Feynman’s commencement address at Caltech at my Inspiration page.

Syndicated 2012-01-09 18:37:45 from Petar Kormushev

Open Post-Doc positions in Robotics at IIT

Postdoctoral positions in Machine Learning for Robot Control of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV)

The Department of Advanced Robotics (http://www.iit.it/en/advanced-robotics) at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT, an English-language research institute, located in Genoa, Italy) has 2 Post-Doc openings (starting from January March 2012) in the research areas of Reinforcement learning and Imitation learning applied to robot control of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV).

The successful candidates will participate in a 3-year research project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-ICT, STREP, Cognitive Systems and Robotics) called “PANDORA” (Persistent Autonomy through learNing, aDaptation, Observation and ReplAnning) which will start in January 2012.

The project is a collaboration of five universities and institutes in Europe: Heriot Watt University (UK), Italian Institute of Technology (Italy), University of Girona (Spain), University of Strathclyde (UK), and National Technical University of Athens (Greece).

The accepted candidates will contribute to the development and experimental validation of novel reinforcement learning and imitation learning algorithms for specific application to robot control of autonomous underwater vehicles. The research work includes conducting experiment with AUVs in water tanks in collaboration with the other project partners. The developed machine learning algorithms will also be applied for other robots available at IIT, such as the compliant humanoid robot COMAN, the humanoid robot iCub, Barrett WAM manipulator arm, and KUKA LWR arm robot.

The research will be conducted within the “Learning and Interaction Group” (http://www.iit.it/en/advanced-robotics/research-areas/learning-and-interaction)
with team leaders: Dr. Petar Kormushev and Dr. Sylvain Calinon.

The salary will depend on the candidate’s experience and also includes additional pension and health benefits. Applicants may also qualify for reduced taxes benefits. Contracts are for up to 3 years with a possible renewal and future career options upon successful completion. Expected start date is February March 2012.

International applications are encouraged and will receive logistic support with visa issues. For further information please contact: Dr. Petar Kormushev (by e-mail).

Application Requirements:

- PhD degree in Computer Science, Mathematics or Engineering
- High-quality publication record
- Strong interest in machine learning algorithms
- Strong competencies in some of these areas: machine learning, reinforcement learning, imitation learning, MATLAB and C/C++ programming
- Experience in robot control is a plus
- Fluency in both spoken and written English

Application Procedure:

To apply please send a detailed CV, a statement of motivation, degree certificates, grade of transcripts, contact information of at least two references, and other support materials such as reference letters to: Dr. Petar Kormushev (by e-mail).

For consideration, please apply by:  December 4, 2011
DEADLINE EXTENDED TO: January 29, 2012

Petar Kormushev, PhD
Team Leader – Advanced Robotics Dept.
Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)
Via Morego 30, 16163 Genova



Syndicated 2011-11-07 16:07:04 from Petar Kormushev

Favorite quotes

“Stay hungry, stay foolish” ― Steve Jobs

“I hear, I forget; I see, I may remember; I do, I will never forget.” ― Confucius

“Be prapared: ‘luck’ is where preparation meets opportunity” ― Randy Pausch

“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past – into the impossible”.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away”

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” ― Alan Kay

“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.” ― Ludwig van Beethoven

“We must become the change we want to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

…to be continued

Syndicated 2011-10-18 09:42:13 from Petar Kormushev

PhD comics

One of my favorite comics is the PhD comics (“Piled Higher and Deeper”), which relates to many problems and funny moments of a PhD-student’s and a post-doc’s life.