Speaker: Ashish Kapoor, Microsoft Research
Title: Machine Learning to Fly on a Budget
Machine Intelligence techniques such as reinforcement learning and imitation learning have been tremendously successful in achieving superhuman performance in software games (e.g. Atari games, AlphaGo etc.). While the idea of applying such methods for autonomous flights in an uncertain environment is an appealing one, the high sample complexity of these techniques adds a unique challenge for the domain. High sample complexity means that a lot of labeled data and training is needed before the systems are useful, which can be problematic when building real-world flying vehicles. In this talk, we will discuss two different ways to address this challenge. First, we propose novel algorithms that exploit the statistical structure of uncertainty in order to rapidly build accurate prediction engines. Second, we also explore the feasibility of building and using high-fidelity simulation environments that mimic the real-world. The key idea being that such a simulated world would provide the necessary experience and generate enough data to train the system adequately before deploying it on a real aircraft. We will highlight these principles on the problem of finding fastest route in presence of uncertain winds and discuss the engineering challenges encountered when implementing them on a real-world two-seater experimental aircraft.
Ashish Kapoor is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, Redmond. These days Ashish is focusing building intelligent and autonomous agents that are safe and enable applications that can positively influence our society. The core technology builds upon cutting edge research in machine intelligence, robotics and human-centered computation in order to enable an entire fleet of flying robots that range from micro-UAVs to commercial jetliners. Ashish holds the PhD and Masters degrees from the MIT Media Laboratory and obtained his Bachelors at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Ashish is also an avid aviator and holds FAA Commercial Pilot certificate (SEL), FAA Flight Instructor certificate (Airplane Single Engine and Instrument Airplane). Ashish is an active amateur aircraft builder and recently finished building an RV-8 Aircraft.
For additional information contact Sanja Fidler