Vitchyr Pong

I am a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley advised by Sergey Levine. I am interested in using deep reinforcement learning for robotics. I did my undergrad at Cornell University, where I worked with Ross Knepper and Hadas Kress-Gazit.

LinkedIn  /  GitHub
vitchyr at berkeley dot edu

Preprints
bebpo in front of box

Uncertainty-Aware Reinforcement Learning for Collision Avoidance
Gregory Kahn, Adam Villaflor, Vitchyr Pong, Pieter Abbeel, Sergey Levine arXiv:1702.01182 [Video] [arXiv]

Practical deployment of reinforcement learning methods must contend with the fact that the training process itself can be unsafe for the robot. In this paper, we consider the specific case of a mobile robot learning to navigate an a priori unknown environment while avoiding collisions. We present an uncertainty-aware model-based learning algorithm that estimates the probability of collision together with a statistical estimate of uncertainty. We evaluate our method on a simulated and real-world quadrotor, and a real-world RC car.

Publications
DARPA Robotics Challenge picture

Reactive high-level behavior synthesis for an Atlas humanoid robot
Spyros Maniatopoulos, Philipp Schillinger, Vitchyr Pong, David D. Connor, Hadas Kress-Gazit IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2016.

We present and end-to-end approach for the automatic generation of code that implements high-level robot behaviors in a verifiably correct manner. We start with Linear Temporal Logic (LTL) equations and use them to synthesize a reactive mission plana that is gauranteed to satisfy the formal specifications.

social network example

Two evolving social network models
Sam Magura, Vitchyr Pong, Rick Durrett, David Sivakoff ALEA, Lat. Am. J. Probab. Math. Stat., 2015.

We study two different social network models. We prove that their stationary distributions satisfy the detailed balance condition and give explicit formulas for the stationary distributions. From this distribution, we also obtain results about the degree distribution, connectivity, and diameter for each model.

chomp_the_graph

Chomp the Graph
Sam Magura, Vitchyr Pong, Elliot Cartee, Kevin Valakuzhy Broad Street Scientific, 2012

Chomp the Graph is a terminating impartial game that adheres to normal play convetion. By the Sprague-Grundy Theorem, Chomp has a number, which determines if a position leads to a win if played optimally. We prove the nimber of certain types of graphs.

Course Projects
keyboard gloves

Keyboard Gloves
Vitchyr Pong, Gulnar Mirza, 2015
Demo / Video Explanation

Designed and created gloves that allow users to type on any hard surface as if they were using a QWERTY keyboard. The gloves recognize the standard QWERTY keyboard layout by recognizing which finger is pressed via push buttons, and how bent the finger is via flex sensors. We combined knowledge of analog circuit design, serial communication protocols, and embedded programming to implement this project.

Teaching
perceptron

CS4780 / CS5780 - Fall 2015 (TA)


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