OUDEYER_PIERRE_YVES_2013_OJPierre-Yves OudeyerI am research director (DR1) at Inria, heading the Flowers team (see PhD students). I was previously a permanent researcher in Sony Computer Science Laboratory for 8 years (1999-2007). I am also editor of IEEE CIS Newsletter on Cognitive and Developmental Systems where I organize interdisciplinary dialogs in cognitive science, AI and robotics, as well as associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems and Frontiers in Neurorobotics. I have been chair of IEEE CIS Technical Committee on Cognitive and Developmental Systems in 2015-16. 

I study computational mechanisms allowing robots and humans to acquire open-ended repertoires of skills through lifelong learning.  This includes the processes for progressively discovering their bodies and interaction with objects, tools and others. In particular, I study the mechanisms that guide exploration in autonomous learning, how they can self-organize curriculum learning. This includes mechanisms of intrinsically motivated learning (also called curiosity-driven active learning), autonomous unsupervised exploration, imitation and social learning, multimodal statistical inference, embodiment and maturation and self-organization.

I consider cognitive development as a complex dynamical system which needs to be understood through systemic thinking, leveraging tools and concepts from computational sciences (artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics), neuroscience and psychology. I consider algorithms and robotics models as powerful scientific languages to express theories of cognitive development in the living.

Of particular interest to me is the formation of repertoires of sensorimotor and interaction skills as well as their relation with the acquisition and evolution of languages.

I am also working on applications of this research in three fields: adaptive human-computer interfaces, educational technologies and open-source robotics for art and education.

With my team, we are strongly following an open science approach, and provide open-source software and hardware allowing other scientists and students to reproduce, understand and improve the techniques we are developing. For example, we have been developping the Explauto open-source python framework to study unsupervised exploration and intrinsically motivated learning, as well as the open-source 3D printed Poppy robotics platform to explore the role of embodiment in developing cognitive skills.

In practice, this has led me to follow two mutually reinforcing research activities (yet with two different epistemological perspectives):

  • Understanding human cognitive development, where computers and robots are used as conceptual and experimental tools in constant dialog with developmental psychology, neuroscience and linguistics;
  • Constructing machines and robots, inspired by mechanisms of the living, which are capable of lifelong development and adaptation to the physical and social world.

Quick links:

Selected publications:

Selected publications by topic:

Cognitive Science: Computational and Robotic Models of Human Development and Language Evolution

Developmental Robotics: Mechanisms of Lifelong Developmental Learning of Sensorimotor and Social Skills in Robots

Adaptive Human-Machine Interfaces, BCI, Emotional Speech Processing

Educational Technologies

Outreach Projects

Poppy: an Open-Source 3D Printed Robotic Platform

Link to information about the Poppy humanoid robot Poppy Project web site. Poppy is an open-source 3D printed robot for science, education and art designed by the Flowers team. It was built to study the impact of the body on sensorimotor development and cognition: it makes it possible to really consider the body as an experimental variable. See article at Humanoids 2013 conference.

Poppy Overview from Poppy Project on Vimeo.

IniRobot: un kit pédagogique pour l'initiation à la robotique à l'école primaire

 IniRobotIniRobot est une série d’activités pédagogiques “clés en main” destinée à la découverte de la robotique et de la programmation à l’école primaire, en particulier lors des activités périscolaires. Ce kit est libre d’utilisation (Creative Commons CC-BY-SA) et utilise le robot Thymio développé à l’EPFL. Il est déployé en France dans les activités périscolaires des écoles de plusieurs villes, dont Lille, Talence et Lormont. Il a été développé par Didier Roy, Thomas Guitard et Pierre-Yves Oudeyer dans l’équipe Flowers, et est partagé sur le site participatif Dessine-moi un robot

Art and Science

I collaborate regularly with artist within project that explore the frontiers between art and science. This has been the opportunity to create original connections between the general public and our scientific projects, in particular by bringing people to ask themselves and to ourselves stimulating questions about the position of such scientific projects within society at large.

Examples of such projects include:



Call for applicants: Full-time tenure senior research position at Flowers Lab, Inria, Bordeaux, France. Candidates interested by applying for a tenure full-time research position at Inria to joint the Flowers Lab are encouraged to contact Pierre-Yves Oudeyer (pierre-yves.oudeyer ATSIGN inria.fr). Call for Tenure-track faculty position at Ensta ParisTech, associated with Flowers Lab.  This faculty position would be associated to the Flowers Lab/team if the main research of the candidate is related to developmental and cognitive robotics, and/or advanced machine learning (especially deep learning techniques). Call for postdoc application in Lifelong Deep Learning for Robotics Call for candidates for an internship about experimenting how humans invent and negotiate new linguistic conventions. 

Livres / Books

Mondes Mosaiques: Astres, villes, vivant et robots (CNRS Editions, 2015)

Book Cover Aux sources de la parole (Odile Jacob, 2013) Self-organization in the evolution of speech (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Interviews et médiation

Pour la Science, 2015: L’éveil des bébés robots La recherche, 2015 Le roboticien des sciences humaines Le Monde, nov. 2014 (portrait)Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, aussi curieux que ses robots Socialter, sept. 2014: Les robots seront-ils aussi “bêtes” que nous? Des machines et des hommes Les Echos, mars 2014 Les robots auront un impact sur la société

TEDx Talk Fabricating Open-Source Baby Robots 

Academic Talk on Developmental Robotics

Academic Talk on Models of the Evolution of Language

3D printed Open-Source Poppy Robot

Pour le grand public

Vidéo Lift: “Quand les robots nous aident à comprendre l’homme” , avec présentation de Poppy, robot humanoide open-source et imprimé en 3D.

France Culture (oct. 2013)  La parole et l’ordinateur, Interview avec Stéphane Delogeorges, émission Continent Sciences

France Inter (oct. 2013) Le langage: une auto-organisation ? Interview avec Stéphane Paoli, émission 3D, le journal

RFI (Sept. 2013) Comment s’invente le langage ? Emission “Autour de la question” de Caroline Lachowsky.

Fondation Cartier

L’expérience Ergo-Robots, expostion “Mathématiques un Dépaysement Soudain”, Fondation Cartier, Paris