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Reference TypeConference Proceedings
Author(s)Schaal, S.
Year2003
TitleMovement planning and imitation by shaping nonlinear attractors
Journal/Conference/Book TitleProceedings of the 12th Yale Workshop on Adaptive and Learning Systems
Keywordsmovement primitives, behaviors, dynamic systems, computational motor control, attractor landscapes
AbstractGiven the continuous stream of movements that biological systems exhibit in their daily activities, an account for such versatility and creativity has to assume that movement sequences consist of segments, executed either in sequence or with partial or complete overlap. Therefore, a fundamental question that has pervaded research in motor control both in artificial and biological systems revolves around identifying movement primitives (a.k.a. units of actions, basis behaviors, motor schemas, etc.). What are the fundamental building blocks that are strung together, adapted to, and created for ever new behaviors? This paper summarizes results that led to the hypothesis of Dynamic Movement Primitives (DMP). DMPs are units of action that are formalized as stable nonlinear attractor systems. They are useful for autonomous robotics as they are highly flexible in creating complex rhythmic (e.g., locomotion) and discrete (e.g., a tennis swing) behaviors that can quickly be adapted to the inevitable perturbations of a dy-namically changing, stochastic environment. Moreover, DMPs provide a formal framework that also lends itself to investigations in computational neuroscience. A recent finding that allows creating DMPs with the help of well-understood statistical learning methods has elevated DMPs from a more heuristic to a principled modeling approach, and, moreover, created a new foundation for imitation learning. Theoretical insights, evaluations on a humanoid robot, and behavioral and brain imaging data will serve to outline the framework of DMPs for a general approach to motor control and imitation in robotics and biology.
Place PublishedYale University, New Haven, CT
Short TitleMovement planning and imitation by shaping nonlinear attractors
URL(s) http://www-clmc.usc.edu/publications/S/schaal-YWALS2003.pdf

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