Departmental Papers (ESE)


An intelligent machine is autonomous. An autonomous machine can operate successfully in a diversity of situations without resort to intervention by “higher level” processes, for example, humans. Physical machines are ultimately force or torque controlled dynamical systems: the specification of input torques, whether via syntactic prescriptions or feedback controllers, results in certain classes of vector fields. Control procedures whose resulting vector fields have globally attracting goal states may properly be said to evince autonomous behavior. In this light it makes sense to “program” robots using the language of dynamical systems via feedback. This talk will review various procedures developed within the Yale Robotics Lab that result in provably autonomous behavior according to the criterion developed above. These procedures are expressed in a rudimentary “geometric programming language” appropriate to the domain of tasks being undertaken and result in closed loop dynamical systems with global convergence properties (often, the strongest that the topology of the program can allow). A variety of simulation results and physical experimental studies will attest to the practicability of these methods.

For more information: Kod*Lab

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Subject Area

GRASP, Kodlab

Date of this Version



An invited morning lecture delivered at the advanced software technology and mechatronics research institute of Kyoto.

Post-IROS International Forum on Advanced Robotics.

NOTE: At the time of publication, author Daniel Koditschek was affiliated with Yale University. Currently, he is a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

Bib Tex

@inproceedings{author-conference-1991, author = {Daniel E. Koditschek}, title = {Can Dumb Feedback Produce Intelligent Machines?}, conference = {Post-IROS International Forum on Advanced Robotics}, year = {1991}, location = {Kyoto, Japan}, month = {November}, }



Date Posted: 17 November 2014

This document has been peer reviewed.