CDA-9703217 Grupen, Roderic A. University of Massachusetts A Facility for Cross Disciplinary Research on Sensorimotor Development in Humans and Machines This award is for supporting research activities in Computer Science and Psychology at UMass in assembling an infrastructure for experimental work on the development of conceptual structure from sensorimotor activity. An interactionist theory is advanced in which the origin of knowledge is interactive behavior in an environment. By this account, the nature of the environment and the agent's native resources (sensors, effectors, and control) lead directly to appropriate conceptual structures in natural and artificial systems. The central claim of this research is that the first task facing an intelligent, embodied agent is coordinated sensory and motor interaction with its environment and that this task leads to policies and abstractions that influence the subsequent acquisition of higher cognitive abilities. An interdisciplinary team specializing in robotics, cognitive development, and motor development, learning, planning and language lead the effort. The infrastructure incorporates robot hands and arms, binocular vision, binaural audition, haptic and kinesthetic information in a common framework to provide a rich sensory and motor encoding of interaction with the world. In addition to the robotics facilities, the infrastructure includes tools for gathering precise, quantitative observations of postures and rates of movement in human subjects. These facilities are designed to support analogs of nontrivial human processes so that computational models of development may be compared to data from infant subjects.