Welcome Address

Please accept our warmest welcome to Providence, to Brown University, and to the Fifth Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and Epigenetic Robotics. ICDL-EpiRob encompasses a dynamic and unique community of researchers, including the disciplines of engineering and computer science, developmental psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and several other related areas. The central theme that binds us together as a community is the study of development in both natural and artificial systems. In particular, there are two related approaches. First, one strategy is to borrow the core principles and empirical data derived from studies of infants and children, and to use them as inspiration for designing robots, autonomous machines, and intelligent agents that interact with and learn from their environment. A second, complementary strategy is to use robots and computational models as a testbed for investigating theories and predictions about how children develop and acquire new skills.

The first ICDL conference was organized in 2000, while EpiRob launched in the following year. In 2011, the two communities officially merged under the auspices of IEEE and began to host a joint annual meeting – the first was hosted in Frankfurt, followed by San Diego, Osaka, and then Genoa. A particularly important feature of the meeting is that it follows a single presentation track, which not only enhances and supports collaboration and dialog, but also promotes fellowship and a positive atmosphere for the exchange of ideas. We are also fortunate to receive ongoing support from IEEE and IEEE-CIS. In addition, this year’s conference also received funding and support from Brown University and Brown’s new Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative.

We are excited to welcome three distinguished keynote speakers: Dare Baldwin (University of Oregon), Kerstin Dautenhahn (University of Hertfordshire), and Asif Ghazanfar (Princeton University). The preconference day (August 13) includes a morning tutorial (organized by John Weng) and an afternoon workshop (organized by Michael Goldstein and Chen Yu). The regular program also includes 24 full papers that were accepted for oral presentation, as well as 40 additional submissions that were accepted as poster presentations. Of particular note, we are initiating a new conference feature this year, the Babybot Challenge, which was designed to encourage researchers in the engineering and computer sciences to replicate the paradigm and findings from one of three chosen infant studies (including research on the development of gesture, motor skill, and perception-action transfer).

Planning for this meeting began well over a year ago, and included the help of numerous people. We begin by acknowledging and thanking the large team of Associate Editors and reviewers who worked at a rapid pace to evaluate the conferences submissions. We would also like to acknowledge the Publicity Chairs (Matthias Rolf and Benjamin Rosman) for distributing announcements and news – Matthias did double-duty as the conference webmaster, in collaboration with Angelo Cangelosi. Clay Morrison has graciously served as the Finance Chair, while Lisa Meeden worked diligently as Publication Chair to help produce the conference proceeding and distribute the program. Local Chairs Thomas Serre and David Sobel tackled countless onsite issues, while Bridge Chairs Bertram Malle and Jeff Krichmar interfaced with related research communities. There are many more volunteers and staff members who helped make the conference possible – please offer them your thanks if you happen to see them during the conference!

 Anne Warlaumont, Program Chair
Clément Moulin Frier, Program Chair
 Matthew Schlesinger, General Chair
Dima Amso, General Chair