The 12 th International Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics

Welcome to WAFR 2016 in San Francisco!

The first Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics was held in San Francisco in 1994, organized by Jean-Claude Latombe, Dan Halperin, Lydia Kavraki, and Ken Goldberg as a single-track meeting for presenting new research on the design and analysis of robot algorithms from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Since then, WAFR has been held every two years in Toulouse, Houston, Dartmouth, Nice, Utrecht, New York, Guanajuato, Singapore, Boston, and Istanbul. Papers focus on fundamental algorithmic issues, such as complexity, machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, and applications to manufacturing, surgery, distributed robotics, human- robot interaction, intelligent prosthetics, computer animation, and computational biology.

This year the venue is the Exploratorium, a “public learning laboratory” founded by Frank Oppenheimer in 1969 and described by the New York Times as the most important science museum opened since the mid-20th century. Characterized as "a mad scientist's penny arcade, scientific funhouse, and experimental lab,” it is considered the prototype for participatory science museums around the world.

We are pleased to provide every participant with a member of the first set (or bale) of injected-molded Gömböc (Hungarian: ['gømbøts]) manufactured in Budapest. It is well- known, from a geometrical and topological generalization of the classical four-vertex theorem, that any convex planar object has at least two stable equilibria. This minimum was expected to extend to higher dimensions but questioned by Russian mathematician Vladimir Arnold and resolved by Hungarians Gabor Domokos and Peter Varkonyi of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, who in 2006 gave a constructive proof that the minimum number of stable equilibria for a convex, uniform mass, 3D solid is: one.

As organizers, we are grateful to all authors, reviewers, respondents, Program and Awards Committee members, Keynote Speakers John Canny, Dan Halperin, Erik Demaine, and Lydia Kavraki, Open Problems Session organizers Ron Alterovitz, Florian Pokorny, and Jur van den Berg, and the generous WAFR sponsors. We have also been very fortunate to benefit from extremely professional organizational assistance from Miyoko Tsubamoto, Lorie Mariano, Karen Stierwalt and the student volunteers from UC Berkeley and Rutgers. We also appreciate Torsten Kroeger for organizing the Stanford and UC Berkeley Lab Tours and the guidance we received from the WAFR Steering Committee led by Nancy Amato and from WAFR’s fiscal sponsor, the International Federation of Robotics Research (IFRR), led by Oussama Khatib and Henrik Christensen.

We’re experimenting with a few new ideas this year such as discouraging the use of laptops during sessions, encouraging “dirty laundry” slides by presenters, and soliciting trenchant questions by assigning specific “respondents” for each paper. We’re curious to see how it goes and welcome feedback and suggestions for the next WAFR. Thank you for joining us!

- Ken, Pieter, Kostas, and Lauren

Timeline and important dates

Jul 13: Abstract Submission
Jul 17: Initial Paper Submission
Sep 8: Acceptance Notification
Sep 26: Early Registration Deadline (EXTENDED)
Oct 31: Final Manuscript Submission Deadline
Nov 20: Student Travel Support Request Deadline


Please note that the event is limited to 200 participants. Registrations include admission to technical sessions, catered lunch, coffee breaks, the banquet, and admission to the Exploratorium exhibits all three days. To register, follow the link below.

Early Registration: $800
Early Student Registration $700
Regular Registration: $1000
Regular Student Registration $900
Additional Banquet Ticket $100


Map of Events

Past Workshops

WAFR 1994
WAFR 1996
WAFR 1998
WAFR 2000
WAFR 2002
WAFR 2004
WAFR 2006
WAFR 2008
WAFR 2010
WAFR 2012
WAFR 2014