ExCAPE Robotics Workshop

Rice University

Nov. 20–22, 2013


ExCAPE Robotics Workshop is designed for the robotics groups to get together, share their tools, and have a more focused discussion. The purpose of the workshop is threefold: (1) hands-on tutorial on robotics tools, (2) group updates through presentations, and (3) discussions on the possible future directions and collaborations. The tentative schedule is below.


The first day of the workshop will be hands-on tools and tutorials. Participants will be asked to pre-install the tools to the extent possible and come ready with their laptop running the software so that they can follow the demos. The second day is designed for project updates, discussions, and comments from all. Roughly one person from each group will give an overview of all on-going work in the group. The last day schedule will be planned at the end of the second day. The idea is that the discussions of Thursday will help us identify themes and subgroups who will work together on Friday.


We ask the tutorial session participants to install OMPL, LTLMoP, and PESSOA on their laptops before the first day of the workshop. It is important for everybody to get started on the installations as early as possible since these tools require some dependencies. Please find the installation information for each tool here and refer your questions/problems to the corresponding person.


The workshop will be held in room 1049 in Duncan Hall at Rice University. For campus map, click here.


We have made a room-block reservation with Hilton Houston Plaza at a discounted rate of $119/night. Please call the 24 HR Central Reservations Department at 1-800-HILTONS (1-800-445-8667) to reserve your room. All reservations need to be completed by 10/29/13. You may ask for the Group Code: ERW or ask for the group by name ExCAPE Robotics Workshop when making your reservation.


  • Airports: There are two major airports in the city of Houston, Hobby (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental (IAH). Hobby airport is closer to Rice University campus and is the hub of southwest airline. IAH is farther away but is the larger airport that serves most of the airlines.

  • To/From Airport: there are three public transportation options to/from the airports:
    • Taxi: fastest method of transportation and takes and costs about 50 minutes and $60 from IAH and 30 minutes and $40 from HOU.
    • Super Shuttle: it is a shared van and costs $28 per passenger. The travel time depends on the number of passengers (link).
    • City Bus: Bus 102 runs between downtown Houston and IAH every 30 minutes and the travel time is about an hour. Bus 73 goes between Rice University and HOU every 30 minutes with the travel time of 50 minutes. The city bus fare is about $2.00. For further information on the buses and other public transportation methods see METRO website or GOOGLE MAP.
  • Local Dining: There are many restaurants and cafes near Rice campus specifically in the neighborhood called Rice Village. You can find two lists of dining options here: dining list 1 and dining list 2.
  • Others: coming soon …

Tentative Schedule

Wednesday 11/20
8:30 - 9:30am            Breakfast
9:30 - noon                OMPL Tutorial [Slides] [Demo materials]
noon-1:00pm              Lunch
1:00-3:00pm               LTLMoP Tutorial
3:00-3:30pm               Coffee Break
3:30-5:00pm               PESSOA Tutorial
Dinner: Bombay Brasserie restaurant in Rice Village at 6pm

Note: The order of the tutorials can change, and other tools may be added to the schedule.

Thursday 11/21
8:00 - 8:45am             Breakfast
8:45 - 9:00am             Opening Remarks
9:00 - 9:50am             Morteza Lahijanian (Rice U.) [SLIDES]
9:50 - 10:30am           Kuldeep Meel (Rice U.) [SLIDES]
10:30-11:00am            Coffee Break
11:00-11:40am           Garvit Juniwal (UCB)
11:40-12:40pm            Jonathan DeCastro (Cornell U.) [SLIDES]
12:30-1:30pm              Lunch
1:30-2:30pm                Eric Dallal (U. of Michigan) [SLIDES]
2:30-3:30pm                Ayca Balkan (UCLA) [SLIDES]
3:30-4:00pm                Coffee Break
4:00-5:00pm                Indranil Saha (UCB/U. Penn)
Dinner for PIs ONLY – discussion of future directions / emerging themes

Note: The idea here is that we have detailed presentations from different groups and that constructive comments are offered. The goal is to generate a lively discussion that will highlight connections among the works of the groups. We can fit up to 5-6 presentations - ideally one (max two) from each group. The schedule is tentative.

Friday 11/22
8:30-9:30am              Breakfast
9:30-10:30                  Discussion of emerging themes with all present
10:30-noon                 Subgroup meetings
noon-1:00pm              Lunch
1:00-3:00pm               Subgroup meetings

Note: The exact subgroups will be decided the day before and will depend on the emerging interests and discussions. The participation of all is essential for the success of these meetings.