Developmental Robotics

A 2005 AAAI Spring Symposium
Monday - Wednesday, March 21-23, 2005
Stanford University, Stanford, CA


Dates ][ Submissions ][ Organizers ][ Symposium ][ Resources ][ Meeting ]

A new website has been created:

Developmental Robotics is a new approach that focuses on the autonomous self-organization of general-purpose, task nonspecific control systems. It takes its inspiration from developmental psychology and developmental neuroscience. Developmental robotics is a move away from task-specific methodologies where a robot is designed to solve a particular pre-defined task (such as path planning to a goal location). This new approach explores the kinds of perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral capabilities that a robot can discover through self-motivated actions based on its own physical morphology and the dynamic structure of its environment. Initially a developmental system might bootstrap itself with some innate knowledge or behavior, but with experience could create more complex representations and actions, leading to complete Autonomous Mental Development (AMD) [1]. Developmental robotics is different from many learning and evolutionary systems in that the reinforcement signal, teacher target, or fitness function comes from within the system. In this manner, these systems are designed to rely more on mechanisms such as self-motivation, homeostasis, or “emotions.”

This emerging field has been interdiscplinary from its inception, including researchers from psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. However, developmental robotics is not as well known, or understood, within the AI community. One purpose of this symposium is to create a forum for introducing AI researchers who have worked on related topics to the field. Such related topics include life-long learning, evolutionary robotics, reinforcement learning, and symbol grounding. In addition, this symposium can help define the emerging discipline of Developmental Robotics by incorporating the AI perspective.

We invite contributions on architectures for developmental robotics, examples of developmental behavior in robots, as well as features or mechanisms of developmental processing including, but not limited to: self-organization, self-exploration, self-motivation, categorization, artificial emotional systems, value systems, and anticipation-driven learning.

Student Funding

If you are a student coming to this symposium, please let us know. We have some funding available from AAAI to help offset students' costs.

Important Dates

  • Submission deadline: October 8, 2004 October 22, 2004
  • Acceptance notification date: November 19, 2004
  • Final copy due: January 15, 2005
  • Symposium: Monday through Wednesday, March 21-23, 2005, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.


The symposium will consist of paper presentations and panel discussions. Papers or extended abstracts on current research as well as position papers are welcome. Submissions should be 2–6 pages in length, in the AAAI format. E-mail submissions in PDF format to Douglas Blank ( Themes for panel discussions will be identified based on the submissions.

New! Selected papers from the symposium will be invited to a special issue of Connection Science!

Invited Participants

After your paper or abstract has been accepted, please follow this check list:
  1. Register here (under construction)
  2. Send A/V form, if necessary
  3. FAX signed Permission to Distribute form to 650-321-4457
  4. Submit electronic versions of abstracts and papers to

Organizing Committee

Program Committee

More details on the organizers can be found here.

Symposium Series

An informal reception will be held on Monday, March 21. A general plenary session, in which the highlights of each symposium will be presented, will be held on Tuesday, March 22. Symposia will be limited to between forty and sixty participants. Each participant will be expected to attend a single symposium. Working notes or AAAI technical reports will be prepared and distributed to participants in each symposium. In addition to invited participants, a limited number of interested parties will be able to register in each symposium on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration information will be available in December. To obtain registration information:

On the Web:
Mail, phone, and FAX:
AAAI Spring Symposium Series
445 Burgess Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3442 USA
Voice: 650-328-3123
Fax: 650-321-4457

Symposium Working Notes

"Developmental Robotics" will be available as Working Notes to the participants of the symposium. Some past AAAI symposia are available as technical reports. For contents and ordering information, consult the Spring or Fall sections of the AAAI Press Technical Reports Catalog.


On-line materials

Related conferences


  1. Weng, J., McClelland, J., Pentland, A., Sporns, O., Stockman, I., Sur M., and Thelen, E. (2000). Autonomous Mental Development by Robots and Animals, Science, vol. 291, no. 5504, pp. 599 - 600. [PDF]
  2. Zlatev, J. & Balkenius, C. (2001). Introduction: Why "epigenetic robotics"?. In Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Epigenetic Robotics: Modeling Cognitive Development in Robotic Systems, (pp. 1-4). Lund University Cognitive Studies, Volume 85. [PDF]


The schedule of the meeting is available here. Also, there is now a photo album here.