Interactive & Emergent Autonomy Lab

Ahalya Prabhakar


How can we enable robots to learn representations of the world that allow for robust performance and control? My work focuses on robot learning for flexible task representations from variable, imperfect human demonstrations and high-dimensional sensory learning using distribution-based methods and information-theoretic measures.


Active Perception in Human-Swarm Collaboration
Cyber Physical Systems in Uncertain Environments
Haptic Languages


Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University, 2020
M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University, 2016
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California Institute of Technology, 2013

Awards and Honors

NSF Science Nation Feature, April 2017.
      “Engineering highly adaptable robots requires new tools for new rules”
3rd Place IEEE Control Systems Society Video Competition, June 2017.
      “Autonomous Robot Drawing: From Distributions to Actions Using Feedback”


TA for Machine Dynamics (ME 314), Fall 2014


Ergodic Specifications for Flexible Swarm Control: From User Commands to Persistent Adaptation
A. Prabhakar, I. Abraham, A. Taylor, M. Schlafly, K. Popovic, G. Diniz, B. Teich, B. Simidchieva, S. Clark, T. D. Murphey
Robotics Science and Systems, 2020. PDF Video

Active area coverage from equilibrium
I. Abraham, A. Prabhakar, and T. D. Murphey
Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics (WAFR), 2018. PDF, Appendix, Video

Ergodic exploration using binary sensing for non-parametric shape estimation
I. Abraham, A. Prabhakar, M. Hartmann, and T. Murphey
IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 827–834, 2017. PDF, Video

Autonomous visual rendering using physical motion
A. Prabhakar, A. Mavrommati, J. Schultz, and T. D. Murphey
Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics (WAFR), 2016. PDF, Video 1, Video 2, Video 3

Ergodic exploration with stochastic sensor dynamics
G. De La Torre, K. Flaßkamp, A. Prabhakar, and T. D. Murphey
American Controls Conf. (ACC), pp. 2971 – 2976, 2016. PDF

Symplectic integration for optimal ergodic control
A. Prabhakar, K. Flaßkamp, and T. D. Murphey
IEEE Int. Conf. on Decision and Control (CDC), pp. 2594 – 2600, 2015. PDF