Dr Sylvain Calinon,
Idiap Research Institute,
Centre du Parc, Rue Marconi 19,
CH-1920 Martigny, Switzerland

(Office) +41 27 721 77 61
(Mobile) +41 76 368 16 64
sylvain.calinongmail.com

Born January 12, 1980 at Yverdon, Switzerland.
Marital status: Single.   Citizenship: Swiss and French.

Short bio

I am a permanent researcher at the Idiap Research Institute since May 2014, with research interests covering robot learning and human-robot interaction. I am also a lecturer at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and an external collaborator at the Department of Advanced Robotics (ADVR), Italian Institute of Technology (IIT).

From 2009 to 2014, I was a Team Leader at ADVR-IIT. From 2007 to 2009, I was a Postdoc at the Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory (LASA), EPFL. I hold a PhD from EPFL (2007), awarded by the Robotdalen Scientific Award, ABB Award and EPFL-Press Distinction. I co-authored about 90 publications in the field of robot learning, with recognition including Best Paper Awards in the journal of Intelligent Service Robotics (ISR, 2017) and at IEEE Ro-Man'2007, as well as Best Paper Award Finalist at IEEE-RAS Humanoids'2009, IEEE/RSJ IROS'2013, ICIRA'2015 and IEEE ICRA'2016. I currently serve as Associate Editor in IEEE Transactions on Robotics (T-RO), IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), Intelligent Service Robotics (Springer), and Frontiers in Robotics and AI.

Collaborative projects I am or have been involved in include DexROV, I-DRESS, TACT-HAND, PLATFORM-MMD, STIFF-FLOP, PANDORA, SMART-E, SAPHARI, AMARSI, ROBOT@CWE, FEELIX GROWING and COGNIRON, supported by the European Commission and by the Swiss National Science Foundation.


Research Experience

May 2014-
Permanent Researcher
Idiap Research Institute, Martigny, Switzerland.
June 2014-
External Collaborator

Education

2003-2007
PhD Robotics
Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. Thesis: "Continuous Extraction of Task Constraints in a Robot Programming by Demonstration Framework"
Advisor:
Prof. Aude Billard, EPFL, Switzerland.
Committee:
Prof. Hannes Bleuler, EPFL, Switzerland,
Prof. Herve Bourlard, Director of Idiap Research Institute, Switzerland,
Dr Yiannis Demiris, Imperial College London (ICL), UK,
Prof. Stefan Schaal, University of Southern California (USC), USA.
Awards:
Robotdalen Scientific Award,   ABB Award,   EPFL-Press distinction.
Defense:
May 1st, 2007. Public presentation: July 6th, 2007.
2001-2003
MSc Microeng.
Autonomous Systems Laboratory (ASL), EPFL, Switzerland. Thesis: "PDA Interface for Humanoid Robots using Speech and Vision Processing"
Advisor:
Prof. Aude Billard, EPFL, Switzerland.
Committee:
Defense:
March 1st, 2003.
1998-2001
BSc Microeng.
EPFL, Switzerland.

Awards

2013
Excellence in Reviewing, Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Elsevier).
  In recognition of an outstanding contribution to the quality of the journal
2009
Co-author of a chapter in the Handbook of Robotics (Springer) distinguished by two PROSE Awards.
2008
Robotdalen Scientific Award for Best 2007 PhD Thesis (See the press release here).
  The jury was impressed by the practical and economic importance of the problem, the systematic analysis and innovative layered approach of its implementation, the completeness of the solution, and the open release of source code, demonstrating confidence in the solution independence from specifics of any particular robot hardware or manipulation task.
2008
ABB Award for Best 2007 PhD Thesis.
  For the thorough and exemplary work in his Ph.D. thesis and important scientific contributions resolving two major issues in robot programming by demonstration.
2008
EPFL-Press distinction for Best 2007 PhD Thesis.
2008
First prize (LASA-EPFL Team) in the Grand Challenge on Human-Robot Interaction at the IEEE Intl Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA'2008).

Invited Talks

Sep. 2017
Aug. 2017
Intl Conf. on Gesture and Speech in Interaction (INTERSPEECH'2017 satellite event), Poznań, Poland.
June 2017
June 2017
May 2017
Numerical Analysis Seminar, Mathematics Dept, University of Geneva.
Dec. 2016
Neurorobotics Workshop, 30th Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS'2016), Barcelona, Spain.
Nov. 2016
"AI and Robotics: from technology to the arts" seminar, Mines-ParisTech, France.
Oct. 2016
Workshop on Human-Robot Collaboration: Towards Co-Adaptive Learning Through Semi-Autonomy and Shared Control, Intl Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS'2016), Daejeon, Korea.
June 2016
Workshop on Planning, Scheduling and Dependability in Safe Human-Robot Interactions, Intl Conf. on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS'2016), London, UK.
June 2016
Curzon-Goldsmiths Cinema, Goldsmiths University of London, UK.
Feb. 2016
Conference Cerveau & Robot, Sion, Switzerland.



Aug. 2015
May 2015
Agile and Dexterous Robotics Lab, ETHZ, Zurich, Switzerland.
Feb. 2015
Robotics and Computer Vision Group, ENSTA-ParisTech, France.
Jan. 2015
GIPSA-lab, CNRS/University of Grenoble, France.
Nov. 2014
PI Symposium (Posthuman and Digital Art), Monthey, Switzerland.
Oct. 2014
Nipconf'2014, SwissTech Convention Center, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Sept. 2014
Workshop on Compliant Manipulation: Challenges in Learning and Control, Intl Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS'2014), Chicago, USA.
June 2014
iCub and friends: a workshop on open source robotics to celebrate the iCub 10th birthday, IEEE Intl Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA'2014), Hong Kong, China.
June 2014
Workshop on Soft and Stiffness-Controllable Robots for Minimally Invasive Surgery, IEEE Intl Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA'2014), Hong Kong, China.
March 2014
DIBRIS, University of Genova, Italy.
March 2014
LIRMM HRP-4 Inaugural Workshop, Montpellier, France.
Jan. 2014
RoSEC Winter School, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.
Nov. 2013
Idiap Research Institute, Martigny, Switzerland.
Oct. 2013
Workshop "Benchmarking of State-of-the-Art algorithms in Generating Human-Like Robot Reaching Motions", IEEE-RAS Intl Conf. on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Oct. 2013
Workshop "From Safety to Comfort in the Humanoid Coworker and Assistant", IEEE-RAS Intl Conf. on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Aug. 2013
Biorobotics Lab, TU Delft, Netherlands.
June 2013
Workshop on Robot Learning, Intl Conf. on Machine Learning (ICML'2013), Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
May 2013
Workshop on Semantics, Identification, and Control of Robot-Human-Environment, IEEE Intl Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA'2013), Karlsruhe, Germany.
April 2013
Workshop on haptic collaboration in shared control tasks, IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC’2013), Daejeon, Korea.
March 2013
Workshop on Collaborative Robotics in Industry, European Robotics Forum (ERF’2013), Lyon, France.
Jan. 2013
RoSEC Winter School, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.
June 2012
Jan. 2012
Jan. 2012
RoSEC Winter School, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.
Dec. 2011
Oct. 2011
Computational Learning and Motor Control Lab, University of Southern California (USC), USA.
July 2010
Campus Party, Science and Arts City Museum, Valencia, Spain.
(Technology festival since 1997 with renowned invited speakers such as Stephen Hawking, Al Gore, Neil Amstrong, Steve Wozniak, Vint Cerf or Tim Berners-Lee)
Oct. 2009
Automatic Control Dept, Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona, Spain.
2008
HONDA Research Institute Europe, Offenbach, Germany.
2008
Nakamura Laboratory, University of Tokyo, Japan.
2008
Workshop on Grasp and Task Learning by Imitation, IEEE/RSJ Intl Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Nice, France.
2008
Workshop on Interactive Robot Learning, Robotics: Science and Systems Conf. (R:SS), Zurich, Switzerland.
2008
2008
Workshop on Social Interaction with Intelligent Indoor Robots, Intl Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Pasadena, CA, USA.
2008
Swedish robotics initiative Robotdalen annual event, Volvo Group, Eskilstuna, Sweden.
2007
Workshop on Concept Learning for Embodied Agents, IEEE Intl Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Roma, Italia.
2006

Workshop on Collaborative Human-Robot Teamwork, IEEE Intl Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Orlando, Florida, USA.

Invited Robot Demonstrations

2014
Demonstrations of learning by interaction applications with the Baxter robot, TEDx Martigny.
2010
Futura Campus Party, demonstrations of a chief cook learning robot at the Science & Arts City Museum, Valencia, Spain.
2009
Futura Campus Party, demonstrations of a chief cook learning robot at the Corferias International Exhibition Center, Bogota, Columbia.
2008
Google Zeitgeist Partner Forum, Mountain View, CA, USA, demonstrations of a portraitist humanoid robot.

Bibliometry

h-index: 33,   > 5300 citations*.

The complete list of my publications can be found in the publications section.

Publications highlights

  • Calinon, S. (2016). A Tutorial on Task-Parameterized Movement Learning and Retrieval. Intelligent Service Robotics (Springer), 9:1, 1-29.
    (Best Paper Award)

  • Tanwani, A.K. and Calinon, S. (2016). Learning Robot Manipulation Tasks with Task-Parameterized Semi-Tied Hidden Semi-Markov Model. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), 1:1, 235-242.
    (Best Paper Award Finalist at ICRA'2016)

  • Bruno, D., Calinon, S., Malekzadeh, M. and Caldwell, D.G. (2015). Learning the stiffness of a continuous soft manipulator from multiple demonstrations. Intelligent Robotics and Applications, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 9246, 185-195, Springer.
    (Best Paper Award Finalist at ICIRA'2015)

  • Calinon, S., Alizadeh, T. and Caldwell, D.G. (2013). On improving the extrapolation capability of task-parameterized movement models. IEEE/RSJ Intl Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).
    (Best Paper Award Finalist)

  • Calinon, S., D'halluin, F., Caldwell, D.G. and Billard, A. (2009) "Handling of multiple constraints and motion alternatives in a robot programming by demonstration framework". IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), pp. 582-588.
    (Best Paper Award Finalist)

  • Calinon, S., Guenter, F. and Billard, A. (2007) "On Learning, Representing and Generalizing a Task in a Humanoid Robot". IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part B, 37:2.
    (article listed within Scopus Essential Science Indicators as highly cited paper in the top 1% of its academic field)
    (> 750 citations)*

  • Calinon, S. and Billard, A. (2007) "Active Teaching in Robot Programming by Demonstration". IEEE Intl Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN)", pp. 702-707.
    (Best Paper Award)

  • Billard, A., Epars, Y., Calinon, S., Cheng, G. and Schaal, S. (2004) "Discovering Optimal Imitation Strategies". Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), 47:2-3.
    (Top-3 2009 RAS most cited articles for the last five years)**
* Source: Google Scholar, 2017.
** Source: Elsevier, 2009.

Grant Activities and Projects

Project Leader for Idiap
2015-2018
DexROV (Effective Dexterous ROV Operations in Presence of Communications Latencies)
(H2020 Grant 635491)
2015-2018
I-DRESS (Assistive Interactive Robotic System for Support in Dressing)
(CHIST-ERA Collaborative Project, SNSF)
2016-2019
TACT-HAND (Improving control of prosthetic hands using tactile sensors and realistic machine learning)
(D-A-CH Collaborative Project, SNSF)

Project Co-Leader for Idiap
2016
PLATFORM-MMD (Platform for Reproducible Acquisition, Processing, and Sharing of Dynamic, Multi-Modal Data)
(R'Equip grant, SNSF)

Project Leader for IIT
2012-2015
STIFF-FLOP (STIFFness controllable Flexible and Learn-able Manipulator for surgical OPerations)
(IP FP7-ICT-287728)

Project Co-Leader for IIT
2012-2014
PANDORA (Persistent Autonomy through learNing, aDaptation, Observation and Re-plAnning)
(STREP FP7-ICT-288273)

Project Participant
2013-2017
SMART-E (Sustainable Manufacturing through Advanced Robotics Training)
(ITN FP7/2007-2013/ Marie Curie REA 608022, affiliated with IIT)
2011-2015
SAPHARI (Safe and Autonomous Physical Human-Aware Robot Interaction)
(IP FP7-ICT-287513, affiliated with IIT)
2010-2014
AMARSI (Adaptive Modular Architectures for Rich Motor Skills)
(IP FP7-ICT-248311, affiliated with IIT)
2007-2009
ROBOT@CWE (Advanced robotic systems in future collaborative working environments)
(STREP FP6-34002, affiliated with EPFL)
2006-2010
FEELIX GROWING (Feel, interact, express: a global approach to development with interdisciplinary grounding)
(IP FP6-IST-045169, affiliated with EPFL)
2004-2007
COGNIRON (The Cognitive Robot Companion)
(IP FP6-IST-002020, affiliated with EPFL)

Technology Transfer
2015
Baxter, What Else? (Incremental learning of movements for service robots)
(IdeArk, TheArk)
2011

Teaching


Committees / Editorships / Memberships

2012
Financial Chair
2011
Financial Chair

2017
Organizing Committee

2017-now
Associate Editor
2015-now
Associate Editor
2015-now
Associate Editor
2015-now
Associate Editor

2014-now
Technical Committee
Human Movement Understanding, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS).
2008-now
Technical Committee
Robot Learning, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS).
2015-2016
Program Committee
2010
Coordinator

Robotics Area for Campus Party Europe, represented by the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation, Madrid, Spain.


2017
Examiner
Adrià Colomé's PhD Thesis, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain.
2017
Examiner
Alexandros Paraschos' PhD Thesis, TU Darmstadt, Germany.
2017
Examiner
Gennaro Raiola's PhD Thesis, ENSTA-ParisTech, France.
2016
Examiner
Eva Coupeté's PhD Thesis, Mines-ParisTech, France.
2014
Examiner
Miguel González-Fierro Palacios' PhD Thesis, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), Spain.
2013
Examiner
Leonel Rozo's PhD Thesis, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain.
2009
Examiner
Diego Pardo's PhD Thesis, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain.

2008
Member
FIBRS Student/Chair Mentorship Program.

Supervision

Postdoctoral Fellow
2017-now
Dr Andras Kupcsik, Idiap Research Institute.
2015-2017
Dr Ioannis Havoutis, Idiap Research Institute (now Lecturer at the University of Oxford).
2012-now
Dr Leonel Rozo, ADVR-IIT.
2012-2015
Dr Danilo Bruno, ADVR-IIT (now at CAMELOT biomedical systems S.r.l.).
2009-2011

Dr Petar Kormushev, ADVR-IIT (now Lecturer at Imperial College London).

PhD Students
2016-now
Noémie Jaquier, "Machine learning applied to the control of prosthetic hands". PhD Thesis proposal, Idiap/EPFL.
2016-now
Emmanuel Pignat, "Robot learning for interactive dressing assistance". PhD Thesis proposal, Idiap/EPFL.
2015
Daniel Berio, "Fast movement acquisition and collaboration for robot drawing applications". Visiting PhD Student, Goldsmiths University of London.
2015-now
Ajay Kumar Tanwani, "Probabilistic learning models for skill acquisition in teleoperated robots". PhD Thesis proposal, Idiap/EPFL.
2014-now
Martijn Zeestraten, "Learning compliant synergetic skills". PhD Thesis proposal, ADVR-IIT/UniGenova.
2014-2017
João Silvério, "Human-robot collaborative manipulation and coordination in bimanual tasks". PhD Thesis, ADVR-IIT/UniGenova.
2012-2015
Milad Malekzadeh, "Machine Learning for a Soft Robotic Arm Assisting in Minimally Invasive Surgery". PhD Thesis, ADVR-IIT/UniGenova.
(now Postdoc at CoR-Lab, University of Bielefeld)
2011-2014
Tohid Alizadeh, "Modulation and Statistical Modeling of Human Movements Through Demonstrations". PhD Thesis, ADVR-IIT/UniGenova.
(now Lecturer at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan)
2011-2014
Davide De Tommaso, "Active Vision and Projections as User Interface in Robot Learning from Demonstration". PhD Thesis, ADVR-IIT/UniGenova.
2010-2013

Antonio Pistillo, "Approaches To Open And Closed-Loop Probabilistic Model Learning In Programming By Demonstration". PhD Thesis, ADVR-IIT/UniGenova.

External collaborators
2017
Olivier Baseggio, "Case studies for the application of robot learning techniques in industrial applications". Internship, Idiap.
MSc Students
2017-2018
Wei Ma, "Optimal control to disambiguate movement skills". MSc Thesis, Idiap/EPFL.
2017
Yanick Bertrand, "Synthesis of exaggerated movements to facilitate robot skill acquisition". MSc Thesis, Idiap/EPFL.
2016-2017
Fabien Crépon, "Robot-Assisted Learning for Object Recognition". MSc Thesis, Idiap/EPFL.
2016
Noémie Jaquier, "Robot drawing skills acquisition with vision feedback". MSc Thesis, Idiap/EPFL.
2016
Nikol Guljelmovic, "Incremental learning of movement with Trajectory-HMM". Internship, Delft University.
2015-2016
Emmanuel Pignat, "Online learning of task-parameterized models". MSc Thesis, Idiap/EPFL.
2012-2013
Martijn Zeestraten, "Robot Learning using Tree-Based Policy Representation". MSc Thesis magna cum laude, ADVR-IIT/Delft University (Erasmus exchange program).
2012
Sunniva van Ipenburg, "Learning of a table skittle game with reinforcement learning and parametric Gaussian mixture model". MSc Thesis, ADVR-IIT/Delft University (Erasmus exchange program).
2012
Affan Pervez, "Movement skill acquisition with imitation and reinforcement learning". MSc Thesis, ADVR-IIT/KTH (Erasmus exchange program).
(now PhD Student at TUM, Munich, Germany)
2008
Florent D'halluin, "Robust learning and reproduction of gestures from human demonstrations". MSc Thesis, EPFL.
2007
Murielle Richard, "Implementation of a learning-by-imitation algorithm on the Katana robot". MSc Thesis, EPFL.
(now PhD Student at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland)
2005
Frederic Magnard, "Object tracking for a camera designed to be worn by children". MSc Thesis, EPFL.
2004
Adrien Brossard, "Control of the humanoid robot HOAP-2". MSc Thesis, EPFL.
2004
Andre Maurer, "Artificial Neural Network (ANN) - Hidden Markov Model (HMM) Comparison for a gesture recognition application". MSc Thesis, EPFL.
(now teacher in computer science, with a PhD from EPFL)
2003

Marc Kunze, "Person recognition for the humanoid robot Robota". MSc Thesis, EPFL.
(now Engineer at ETEL Motion Technology, with a PhD from EPFL)

BSc Students
2017
Robin Wütschert, "Smartphone interface for the Baxter robot". BSc Project, Idiap/EPFL.
2017
Yuxiang Li, "Robot experiential learning of movement primitives". BSc Project, Idiap/EPFL.
2016
Yuxiang Li, "Extracting low-level motion primitives and high-level macro actions". BSc Project, Idiap/EPFL.
2015-2016
Christian Abbet, "Surface extraction and interactive anamorphic image rendering for a robotized projector". Internship, Idiap/EPFL.
2015-2016
Dominique Tao, "Robot drawing skills acquisition". Internship, Idiap/EPFL.
2008
Adrian Bodenmann, "Hierarchical learning of a movement through Hidden Markov Model". BSc Project, EPFL.
(now Researcher at the University of Tokyo)
2008
Florent D'halluin, "Incremental learning of gestures through the support of a human teacher". BSc Project, EPFL.
2007
Caroline Nadeau, "Vocal analysis to teach a humanoid robot manipulation skills". BSc Project, EPFL.
(now Research Engineer at IRISA/INRIA Rennes, with a PhD from Universite de Rennes 1)
2007
Manon Pulvin, "Imitation of legs motion by a humanoid robot through the use of motion sensors". BSc Project, EPFL.
2006
Adrien Hitz, "Locomotion control module for the HOAP3 robot". BSc Project, EPFL.
2005
Julien Epiney, "A Humanoid Robot that can paint". BSc Project, EPFL.
(now Automation Engineer at Mikron)
2005
Patrick Schoeneich, "Gaze direction detection using inertial sensors". BSc Project, EPFL.
(now R&D Engineer at Imina Technologies, with a PhD from EPFL)
2004
Jean-Joel Borter, "Motion data representation using motion sensors". BSc Project, EPFL.
(now R&D Engineer at Thermo Fisher Scientific)
2004
Christophe Dubach, "Recognition of trajectories using a stereoscopic vision system". BSc Project, EPFL.
(now Assistant Professor at the University of Edinburgh, with a PhD from the University of Edinburgh)
2004
Vincent Hentsch, "Gestures analysis using gyroscopic sensors". BSc Project, EPFL.
2003
Andre Noth, "Development of an auditory systems running on a Pocket-PC". BSc Project, EPFL.
(now Systems Research Project Manager at Nestle, with a PhD from ETH Zurich)
2003
Yves Linder, "Robust visual arms and head tracking running on a Pocket-PC". BSc Project, EPFL.
(now Group Leader at Electro Medical Systems)
2003
Cecile Grivaz, "Interactive game of a pair of mini-humanoid robot Robota". BSc Project, EPFL.
(now PhD graduate from the University of Geneva)

Other skills

Languages
French (native),   English (fluent),   German (good knowledge).
Robots
Baxter (Rethink Robotics), WAM (Barrett Technology Inc.),   LightWeight Arm (Kuka, DLR),   COMAN humanoid robot (IIT),   iCub humanoid robot (IIT),   HOAP-2, HOAP-3 (Fujitsu),   Katana (Neuronics),   DB (Sarcos),   HRP-2 (Kawada Ind., General Robotix),   Robota (Didel).
Coding

C/C++, Matlab/GNU Octave, Java, Assembler, PHP, OpenGL, GLSL, ROS, OpenFrameworks, Processing.

I maintain PbDlib, a collection of source codes for robot programming by demonstration including various functionalities at the crossroad of statistical learning, dynamical systems, optimal control and Riemannian manifold optimization.