The french academic system requires that people pass yet another diploma higher than the PhD before applying for a full professor position. The diploma is called “Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches” (HDR for short) which stands for “Ability to Supervise Research”. It requires writing a thesis presenting how the candidate co-supervised PhD students and Post-Doc, and the strategy of conducted research.
Since all 3 reviewers approved my thesis, I can proceed with the defense. So, I’m glad to announce that it will be held on 10:30, the 6th December 2013, at Ecole des Mines de Douai of course. My talk is entitled: “On Flexible Autonomous and Mobile Multi-Robot Systems”. You’ll find below a summary as well as names of jury members. The defense is public and you are welcome to attend.
Last, I would like to acknowledge that I have been supported for this work by several people, for many years. Unfortunately, I can name here only a few of them: Stéphane Ducasse, Luc Fabresse, Serge Stinckwich, Georg Heeg, Jannik Laval, Anaud Doniec, Anthony Fleury, Cécile Labarre, Christine Delille, and Muriel Morgan.
Research I have been conducting and co-supervising so far address control software for robots that are both mobile and autonomous. Such a robot is able to perform its missions and to move in a partially known changing environment, without any human assistance. I have been targeting solutions which assist software developers in different stages of the process of building flexible multi-robot systems. I have relied on a thought framework structured around four pillars: software components, aspect-oriented programming, dynamic languages and multi-agent systems. Part of my contributions address the microscopic scale of multi-robot systems, that is robots considered as individuals. We have thus proposed programming models, that merge aspect-oriented programming and components. Our goal is to favor modularity in order to introduce flexibility during software development and maintenance. Then, we have studied flexibility at run-time by introduce software architecture that support dynamic self-adaptation. As a result, such an architecture enables robots to evolve their behavior at run-time according to environmental changes and to the task at hand. We have complemented these contributions by introducing development tools and execution infrastructures that take into account resource constraints. For instance, we have introduced a model of an application-driven object-oriented virtual memory. It allows adapting RAM usage by dynamically loading/unloading object graphs. We have also proposed a framework for remote debugging that is required for software-hardware integration tests. This proposal relies on a remote meta-level located on the developer machine, that controls a base-level located on a robot. Another facet of my research tackles the macroscopical level, that is multi-robot systems considered as a whole. Part of this work is a follow up to our use of components in robot control architectures. It consists in making robots coordinate their decisions for local dynamic adaptations by exchanging software components. These interactions as well as any high-level coordination require remote communications. However, network infrastructures are not always available. We have addressed this issue by proposing a light-weight distributed algorithm where robots organize themselves to set up an ad hoc mobile network. We have built on top of this solution a distributed multi-robot exploration strategy. It allows a robotic fleet to collaboratively build a map while maintaining a network connectivity and compensating for possible disconnections.
Promotor: Stéphane DUCASSE, Research Director at INRIA, Scientific Director of INRIA Lille, Head of the RMoD Team – Lille (France)
- Michel OCCELLO, Professor at Université Pierre Mendes France (Grenoble 2), Head of the COSY team (LCIS) – Grenoble (France)
- Rachid ALAMI, Research Director at CNRS, Head of the RIS team (LAAS) – Toulouse (France)
- Theo D’HONDT, Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Software Languages Lab – Brussels (Belgium)
- Davide BRUGALI, Professor at Università Degli Studi Di Bergamo, Head of the Software for Experimental Robotics Lab – Bergamo (Italy)
- Jacques FERBER, Professor at Université de Montpellier 2, SMILE team (LIRMM) – Montpellier (France)