ME CS 133 2017-18

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This is the homepage for ME/CS 133(a,b) (Introduction to Robotics) for Fall/Winter 2017-18.

Course Staff, Hours, Location

Position Name Office Office Hours (changing weekly) Email Phone
Instructor Joel Burdick 245 Gates-Thomas send mail for an appointment jwb at robotics dot caltech dot edu 626-395-4139
Teach Asst. Joseph Bowkett 205 Gates-Thomas TBD jbowkett at caltech dot edu 626-395-1989
Teach Asst. Daniel Pastor Moreno 205 Gates-Thomas TBD dpastorm at caltech dot edu 626-395-1989
Teach Asst. Ellen Feldman 205 Gates-Thomas TBD efeldman at caltech dot edu 626-395-1989
Teach Asst. Daniel Naftalovich 205 Gates-Thomas TBD nafty at caltech dot edu 626-395-1898
Administrative Sonya Lincoln 250 Gates-Thomas 7:30am-noon; 1:00pm-4:30pm lincolns at caltech dot edu 626-395-3385

Lecture Schedule:

  • Monday: 10:00-11:00 am - 115 Gates-Thomas
  • Wednesday: 2:00-3:00 pm. - 384 Firestone
  • Friday: 3:00-4:00 pm. - 384 Firestone

Announcements For ME/CS 133(a,b)

Course Text and References

The main course text for ME 133(a) is:

We will refer to this text as MLS (the initials of the authors' last names). While the course topics will follow the text, additional material will often be presented in class. Additional course handouts covering this material will be posted on this website

A main text for the ME/CS 133(b) is: Planning Algorithms by Steve LaValle (UIUC).

The following book is recommended (but not required) for ME/CS 133(b):

  • Principles of Robot Motion: Theory, Algorithms, and Implementations, by Howie Choset, Kevin Lynch, Seth Hutchinson, George Kantor, Wolfram Burgard, Lydia Kavraki, and Sebastian Thrun.

This text is available at Amazon in both new and used versions.


The final grade will be based on homework sets, and a final exam or final project:

  • Homework (40%): Homework sets are due at 5 pm on the due date (which will always coincide with a class meeting). Homeworks can be dropped off in class, or deposited in the box outside of 245 Gates-Thomas. Some homeworks will require computation. MATLAB or Mathematica should be sufficient to solve every homework posed in ME/CS 133(a), though students can choose their favorite programming language. Code is considered part of your solution and should be included in with the problem set when appropriate.
  • Laboratory (30%): Lab reports are due at 5 pm on the due date (which will usually coincide with a class meeting). Labs can be dropped off in class, or deposited in the box outside of 245 Gates-Thomas. The first labs will familiarize students with the class robots. Subsequent labs will focus on how to translate the lecture material to the lab robots, and will often involve the use of software systems such as ROS and OOMPL.
  • Final exam/project (30%): In ME/CS 133(a), students have the option to take a final exam (a limited time take-home format exam which is open book, open note, and computer allowed) or select a final project. The final project must incorporate some aspect of the course, and the topic and scope my be approved by the course instructor. The final exam will due at 5:00 pm the last day of finals. The final project is similarly due at 5:00 pm on the last day of finals.
  • Late Homework Policy: Students may automatically take a 2-day extension on two homeworks or labs during each quarter.

Collaboration Policy

Collaboration on homework assignments is encouraged. You may consult outside reference materials, other students, the TA, or the instructor, but you must cite any use of material from outside references. All solutions that are handed in should be written up individually and should reflect your own understanding of the subject matter. Computer code and graphical plots are considered part of your solution, and therefore should be done individually (you can share ideas, but not code). No collaboration is allowed on the examinations.

Course Lecture Schedule for ME/CS 133(a)