AAAI 2011 Spring Symposium on Multi-Robot Systems and Physical Data Structures

Symposium Overview

Multi-robot systems can represent and manipulate physical representations of information by modifying their environment or changing their positions. Information necessary for agent coordination or collective task performance can be externalized ("written") into the environment, and then used ("read") by other robots when and where necessary. Systems are able to exploit the locality of this external information, its persistence, its dynamics, or how it affects the task mechanics to complete tasks with higher efficiency or enable radically different solutions. However, there is no unified theory of the cost and complexity of communicating or storing information in this way.

This symposium aims to bring researchers together who study aspects of external information in algorithms for multi-robot systems. This includes researchers interested in quantifying information requirements, those who have shown reduction in sensing, communication, or computational requirements via externalization of information. Researchers interested in processes which operate on the physical environment in order to perform computation or information processing, and evaluation thereof. We are interested in the theory and practice of these techniques, and welcome submissions that are experimental, theoretical or taxonomical.

Observations and discussion of physical information representations are found throughout the robotics literature, but it is seldom the primary goal of the work. We hope to foster a collaborative dialog to bring multiple perspectives on physical information representation together. Ultimately, these techniques should pave the way to multi-robot systems that exploit their embodiment and their environment to accomplish tasks more effectively than the current state-of-the-art.

Topics of Interest


Papers on any aspect of external information and physical representations of information in algorithms for multi-robot systems are welcome. Interested participants may submit either full length papers (up to 6 pages in AAAI format) or short papers/extended abstracts (2 pages). Reports on experimental results,descriptions of implemented systems, and position papers are all welcome.

Submission of abstracts and final papers should be to


The symposium will take place over two and a half days from Monday through Wednesday, March 21-23, 2011 at Stanford University, California.

A full schedule, and updates, will appear on this page.

For more info see


This symposium will feature presentations (for long papers) and posters (for short papers) from accepted participants. Pending speaker availability, there will be invited talks or a panel discussion by experts from a variety of relevant fields.

Important Upcoming Dates for Authors and Participants

Organizing Committee