Scott Niekum is an Assistant Professor and the director of the Personal Autonomous Robotics Lab (PeARL) in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also a core faculty member in the interdepartmental robotics group at UT.
The goal of Scott's research is to enable personal robots to be deployed in the home and workplace with minimal intervention by robotics experts. In settings such as these, robots do not operate in isolation, but have continual interactions with people and objects in the world. With this in mind, his research group focuses on developing algorithms to solve problems that robot learners encounter in real-world interactive settings. This work draws from both machine learning and robotics, including topics such as learning from demonstration, manipulation, human-robot interaction, interactive perception, and reinforcement learning.