Recent News

August 2012 Defended my thesis titled, "Bridging the Gap between Autonomous Skill Acquisition and Task-Specific Planning".

November 2011 Defended my thesis proposal titled, "Integrating Learning, Planning, and Control".

October 2011 Scott Kuindersma presented our paper, "Choosing Informative Actions for Manipulation Tasks" in Humanoids 2011 .

August 2011 Presented our paper, "Hierarchical Skills and Skill-based Representation" in AAAI 2011 at the Workshop on Lifelong Learning from Sensorimotor Experience.


I am a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The general scope of my postdoc is to conduct and supervise research focused on generating deliverables related to the NASA grant entitled "Representing and Exploiting Cumulative Experience with Objects for Autonomous Manipulation".

I graduated in December 2012 from UMass Amherst with a doctoral degree in Computer Science. My doctoral work was on manipulation planning and decision making under uncertainty for whole body manipulators. I was a member of the Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics and advised by Professor Roderic Grupen.

I am interested in the problem of task-based manipulation planning and control in autonomous agents. Planning and control are essential components of any robot system, yet they have long been studied in isolation. This, I contend, is due to the lack of a common representational framework. In my PhD thesis work, I presented a holistic approach to planning robot behavior, using previously acquired skills to represent control knowledge (and objects) directly, and to use this background knowledge to build plans in the space of control actions. I presented a solution in which the agent builds a functional model of interactions with the world, and use the knowledge for utility driven planning.

I joined UMass Amherst in Fall of 2004 as a graduate student in the MS/PhD program. I got my Masters in Computer Science in Spring 2007. Prior to joining UMass, I obtained my Bachelor and Master of Science in Mathematics and Computing at Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. Here I worked on developing a Text-To-Speech synthesis system for Indian Languages at the Communication Empowerment Laboratory .


Shiraj Sen
  • shiraj (at) cs (dot) umass (dot) edu
  • Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics
    Computer Science Building
    140 Governors Drive
    University of Massachusetts
    Amherst, MA 01003-9264
  • Lab Phone: 413-577-0618