Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Optimization in Robotics and Biomechanics

Workshop at RSS 2014 - Optimization techniques for motion generation in robotics


Time and Place:

  • July 12, 2014, 8 am - 5:30 pm, detailed program see below
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • More information about the RSS 2014 conference at

Detailed Workshop Program is available here


Numerical optimization and optimal control algorithms have become more and more powerful in recent years which also made them increasingly interesting to generate motions in robotics.  Optimization provides the possibility to easily handle redundant mechanisms, to assign the degrees of freedom of the robot to multiple and possibly concurrent tasks, to enforce hard constraints corresponding to physical limitations, etc., to name just a few.  Optimization is used in numerous schemes for generalized inverse kinematics, linear and non-linear control, direct and inverse optimal control, trajectory optimization, planning, etc., with already impressive achievements. However, the increasing complexity of robot models and problems, and the need for fast computations still yield hard challenges and call for many more developments.

There are an important number of optimization algorithms and numerous ways to formulate a robotics problem. Efficient, state-of-the-art motion generation methods are the result of a careful choice of both the formulation and the solver, possibly tailoring the optimization methods for the specific problem class.

The goal of this workshop is to give, via a mix of invited talks, posters and discussions, an overview of optimization tools and techniques used in robotics and the variety of applications. We plan to gather roboticists who require optimization methods for their robots or have already developed dedicated algorithms for robotic problems and researchers from the optimization community have already applied their algorithms to robotics problems or are interested in doing so. 

Topics of this workshop

include but are not limited to

  • Nonlinear model predictive control for robot applications
  • Differential dynamic programming for whole body control
  • Polynomial optimization for robot control
  • Non-linear hierarchical optimization
  • Interior point methods in robotics
  • Direct optimal control techniques for robotics
  • Linear control schemes
  • Inverse optimal control and its application in robotics
  • Efficient modeling of robots in the optimization context
  • Efficient optimization problem formulation in robotics
  • Robust optimal control
  • Online and offline parameter estimation and optimum experimental design for robotic problems

Workshop speakers

  • John Aguilar, James Bobrow, UC Irvine:
    Eigenpostures as a tool to synthesize and analyze near optimal motions for multibody systems and human high-divers
  • Matthias Gerts, Univ der Bundeswehr München:
    Optimal control techniques for trajectory generation in autonomous systems
  • Sergey Levine, UC Berkeley, USA:
    Trajectory optimization under unknown dynamics for policy search
  • Anirudha Majumdar, MIT, USA:
    Control and verification of high-dimensional systems with DSOS and SDSOS programming
  • Nathan Ratliff, MPI Tuebingen, Germany:
    Planning controlled contacts
  • Emo Todorov, Univ of Seattle, USA: 
    Trajectory optimization under unknown dynamics for policy search
  • Adrien Escande, CNRS-AIST JRL, Tsukuba, Japan:
    Lexicographic optimization for robotics
  • Katja Mombaur, University of Heidelberg, Germany:
    Models and optimization methods for human and humanoid walking

Poster presentations


Intended Audience:

The workshop aims to gather researchers, students and industry members from the robotics and optimization communities interested in solving optimization problems in robotics. Since RSS is a robotics conference, we expect that majority of the audience will be researchers from the robotics field, however we expect that we will be able to attract and introduce several faces new to the robotics community which will hopefully lead to the generation of new brudges between robotics & numerical mathematics.

Abstract submission

If you wish to present a poster / interactive presentation at this workshop, please submit a 1-2 page abstract to 

Deadline:    30 April, 2014
Notification of acceptance:    8 May, 2014 


For participation, please register at the conference web page


The workshop is organized as part of the European project KoroiBot

K. Mombaur,
Last Update: 23.09.2015 - 08:04

The photographs in the header of this webpage have been taken at the Musee de l'Automate in Souillac, France