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AIC Seminar Series

Adventures in Autonomy

Nicola MuscettolaNASA Ames Research Center

Date:  2005-03-09 at 14:30

Location:  EK255  (Directions)


The construction of fully autonomous systems is one of the most exciting endeavors of artificial intelligence and robotics. Research often concentrates on the most glamorous aspects of the endeavor, namely the construction of robots capable of spectacular missions. But autonomy research has a much more broad impact, providing the core of a software engineering discipline for highly trusted and helpful systems in a broad variety of application domains. Autonomy requirements also motivate theoretical research in algorithms for the representation of time, resources and their efficient use in planning, scheduling and execution algorithms. This talk provides a perspective on autonomy built over a decade of research at NASA. It provides a general perspective on autonomy with examples from the Remote Agent project, the MAPGEN project and more recent field robotics projects. This perspective is at the core of the Intelligent Distributed Execution Architecture (IDEA), a multi-agent real-time architecture that exploits artificial intelligence planning as the core reasoning engine of an autonomous agent. Finally the talk will give a brief overview of research in constraint-based representation and propagation algorithms for dynamically controllable temporal networks and envelope-based resource representations with motivation of how these representation can solve fundamental problems faced by mission-critical planning, scheduling and execution systems.

   Bio for Nicola Muscettola

Dr. Nicola Muscettola is Principal Scientist for Autonomy at the Intelligent Systems Division of the NASA Ames Research Center. Dr. Muscettola received all his degrees from the Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy. He worked in planning and scheduling research at Carnegie Mellon University from 1987 to 1993 where he designed the Heuristic Scheduling Testbed System (HSTS). HSTS demonstrated flexible temporal planning and scheduling on short-term planning for the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1993 Dr. Muscettola joined NASA Ames. He was the architect and project lead for the Planner/Scheduler module of the Deep Space 1 Remote Agent that flew in May 1999. He is the architect of the Intelligent Distributed Execution Agent, a re-engineering and rationalization of the Remote Agent architecture, extending it to multi-agent system with real-time guarantees. In 2003 Dr. Muscettola received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for being one of the principal technologists for the Remote Agent. Dr. Muscettola research interests are in automated planning and scheduling, temporal and resource constraint propagation, multi-agent architectures, real-time control, and validation and testing of autonomous systems.

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