Ryan Hoque

I am a second year PhD student in the UC Berkeley EECS department studying Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. I am advised by Prof. Ken Goldberg and am part of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR) lab.

Before starting my PhD program, I spent some time in industry working on autonomous driving at Uber's Advanced Technologies Group (acquired by Aurora) and earned my B.S. and M.S. summa cum laude in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, also from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). Outside of research, I enjoy an eclectic mix of hobbies including freestyle rap, playing the piano, reading and writing about philosophy, chess, hiking, and parkour.

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I'm broadly interested in developing imitation and reinforcement learning algorithms that can be applied to challenging real-world robotic manipulation tasks such as control of highly deformable structures. In addition to selected publications below, check out:

ThriftyDAgger: Budget-Aware Novelty and Risk Gating for Interactive Imitation Learning
Ryan Hoque, Ashwin Balakrishna, Ellen Novoseller, Daniel S. Brown, Albert Wilcox, Ken Goldberg
Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL) 2021. Oral Presentation (6.5% of papers).
[Paper] [Project Website]

An interactive imitation learning algorithm that reasons about both state novelty and risk to actively query for human interventions. The algorithm balances supervisor burden and task performance more successfully than prior robot-gated algorithms and is competitive with an oracle human-gated baseline.

LazyDAgger: Reducing Context Switching in Interactive Imitation Learning
Ryan Hoque, Ashwin Balakrishna, Carl Putterman, Michael Luo, Daniel S. Brown, Daniel Seita, Brijen Thananjeyan, Ellen Novoseller, Ken Goldberg
IEEE Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE) 2021.
[Paper] [Project Website]

We propose "context switching" between human and robot control as a measure of supervisor burden in interactive imitation learning, and propose an algorithm that significantly reduces context switching during training and execution.

VisuoSpatial Foresight for Physical Sequential Fabric Manipulation
Ryan Hoque*, Daniel Seita*, Ashwin Balakrishna, Aditya Ganapathi, Ajay Tanwani, Nawid Jamali, Katsu Yamane, Soshi Iba, Ken Goldberg
Autonomous Robots. Vol 45(5), 2021.
[Paper] [Project Website]

Journal paper extending the VSF conference paper below with new datasets, visual dynamics models, cost functions, optimizers, and physical experiments.

VisuoSpatial Foresight for Multi-Step, Multi-Task Fabric Manipulation
Ryan Hoque*, Daniel Seita*, Ashwin Balakrishna, Aditya Ganapathi, Ajay Tanwani, Nawid Jamali, Katsu Yamane, Soshi Iba, Ken Goldberg
Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) 2020. (Invited to Autonomous Robots Special Issue)
[Paper] [Project Website]

By applying a model-based reinforcement learning technique we call VisuoSpatial Foresight, we train a visual dynamics model and use it to sequentially manipulate fabric toward a variety of goal images, entirely from random interaction RGBD data in simulation. Currently my most cited paper!

Deep Imitation Learning of Sequential Fabric Smoothing From an Algorithmic Supervisor
Daniel Seita, Aditya Ganapathi, Ryan Hoque, Minho Hwang, Edward Cen, Ajay Tanwani, Ashwin Balakrishna, Brijen Thananjeyan, Jeffrey Ichnowski, Nawid Jamali, Katsu Yamane, Soshi Iba, John Canny, Ken Goldberg
IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2020.
[Paper] [Project Website]

In this paper we learn to smooth real fabric from arbitrarily complex starting states by leveraging our access to ground truth state in simulation. As a preprint in 2019, this was one of the first papers to apply deep learning to robotic fabric manipulation, a research topic which has gained significant recent interest.


Various other things you may find interesting.

  • An essay in which I synthesize Western and Eastern thought to answer the age-old "meaning of life" question. I have since formulated an even better answer, but have yet to write it up...
  • The time I went viral on social media and international newspapers for clowning around at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England.
  • The other time I appeared on international newspapers, this time for scaling a tower in Dubrovnik, Croatia during the FIFA World Cup 2018 finals.
  • A picture I drew of myself as an anime character. I'm not entirely sure what compelled me to do this. (BTW, if you've never watched anime, watch Attack on Titan. You'll thank me later.)

Website template from BAIR alum Jon Barron. This template seems to be quite popular!