Professor Ross Knepper

Ross A. Knepper

Assistant Professor
Computer Science
Upson Hall, Room 571


Ross A. Knepper is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University, where he directs the Robotic Personal Assistants Lab. His research focuses on the theory and algorithms of human-robot interaction in collaborative work. He builds systems to perform complex tasks where partnering a human and robot together is advantageous for both, such as factory assembly or home chores. Knepper has built robot systems that can assemble Ikea furniture, ask for help when something goes wrong, interpret informal speech and gesture commands, and navigate in a socially-competent manner among people. Before Cornell, Knepper was a Research Scientist at MIT. He received his Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in 2011.

Research Interests

Robotics, Human-Robot Coordination, Manipulation

Teaching Interests

Robotics, Artificial Intelligence

Selected Publications

  • Ross A. Knepper, Christoforos I. Mavrogiannis, Julia Proft, and Claire Liang. “Implicit Communication in a Joint Action”. In: ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. Vienna, Austria, Mar 2017.
  • Ross A. Knepper, Stefanie Tellex, Adrian Li, Nicholas Roy, and Daniela Rus. “Recovering from Failure by Asking for Help”. In: Autonomous Robots 39.3 (Oct. 2015). pp. 347–362.
  • Christoforos I. Mavrogiannis, Wil Thomason, and Ross A. Knepper. “Social Momentum: A Framework for Legible Navigation in Dynamic Multi-Agent Environments”. In: Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. Chicago, USA, Mar. 2018.
  • Ross A. Knepper, Todd Layton, John Romanishin, and Daniela Rus. “IkeaBot: An Autonomous Multi-Robot Coordinated Furniture Assembly System”. In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Karlsruhe, Germany, May 2013.
  • Ian Lenz, Ross A. Knepper, and Ashutosh Saxena. “DeepMPC: Learning Deep Latent Features for Model Predictive Control”. In: Proceedings of the Robotics Science and Systems Conference. Rome, Italy, July 2015.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Amazon Research Award, for "Learning High-level Robot Behaviors by Predicting State Visitation Distributions", 2019.
  • Amazon Research Award, for "Transferring Policies from Simulation to Real World Manipulation", 2018.
  • Invited Speaker, National Academy of Engineering China-America Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, 2017.
  • Best Technical Paper Award (Finalist), ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), for “Implicit Communication in a Joint Action”, 2017.
  • Young Investigator Program Award, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), 2017.
  • Invited Speaker, National Academy of Science Kavli Frontiers of Science Indonesian-American Symposium, 2016.
  • Finalist in the Rethink Robotics Video Challenge, for CS 4752 Robotic Manipulation, 2015.
  • Best Paper, Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) conference, for “Asking for Help Using Inverse Semantics”, 2014.


  • Ph D(Robotics),Carnegie Mellon University,2011


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