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Nichola Abdo

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Technische Fakultät
Autonome Intelligente Systeme
Georges-Köhler-Allee 080
D-79110 Freiburg i. Br., Germany
Office: 00 008

Phone:   +49 761 203-8011
Fax:   +49 761 203-8007

About me

I am a PhD student in the Autonomous Intelligent Systems group headed by Wolfram Burgard at the University of Freiburg. I am interested in robot learning from demonstrations and in methods for combining high-level and low-level reasoning techniques for real-world robots.

  • March 2012: M.Sc. in Computer Science, University of Freiburg. Focus: artificial intelligence and robotics.
  • February 2006: B.Sc. in Mechatronics Engineering, University of Jordan.

Publications and ongoing research can be found on the left panel. Complete Résumé: here.

Research Interests

  • Robot learning from demonstrations
  • Hybrid reasoning
  • Perception

Current Research Projects

I am currently involved in the Hybris-C1 project, which is part of the DFG research unit on hybrid reasoning for intelligent systems (Hybris).


  • P. Jund, B.Sc. thesis "End-to-End Distance Metric Learning for Spatial Relations of Objects," co-supervised with Andreas Eitel and Prof. Wolfram Burgard (2016)
  • O. Mees, M.Sc. thesis "Metric Learning for Generalizing Spatial Relations to New Objects," co-supervised with Mladen Mazuran and Prof. Wolfram Burgard (2016)
  • C. Schöller, M.Sc. thesis "Learning Geometric Patterns for Object Placements in Domestic Environments," co-supervised with Dr. Christian Dornhege and Prof. Wolfram Burgard (2016)
  • D. Saier, B.Sc. thesis, "Logo Mining Using the Web for Object Class Recognition," co-supervised with Dr. Luciano Spinello and Prof. Wolfram Burgard (2014)
  • Teaching assistant for Robot Learning Seminar (winter semester 2014)
  • Teaching assistant for Foundations of Artificial Intelligence (summer semester 2013)
  • Teaching assistant for Robot Mapping (winter semester 2012/2013)
  • Supervisor for Seminar on Robot Navigation (winter semester 2012/2013)

May 2018: Our paper won the best robot vision paper award at ICRA 2018! [project link]


March 2018: Our work on end-to-end metric learning for generalizing spatial relations has been nominmated for best robot vision paper award at ICRA 2018!


July 2017: I successfully defended my thesis!


July 2017: Our new work on generalizing spatial relations with end-to-end metric learning (accepted for publication at ICRA 2018).


June 2017: I submitted my PhD thesis and joined Waymo in Mountain View, California.


June 2017: Our paper on learning spatial relations has been accepted for publication at IROS 2017.


March 2017: Our new work on metric learning for generalizing spatial relations.


November 2016: We present the Freiburg Groceries Dataset!


April 2016: Our IJRR paper has been accepted for publication.


Jan 2016: Our work has been featured on Robohub.


April 2015: Our paper has been nominated for the best service robotics paper award at ICRA15, therefore also qualifying as finalist for best student and conference paper awards!


April-July 2015: Will be doing an internship at Google [X] in the self-driving car team.


January 2015: Our ICRA paper has been accepted for publication.


November 2014: Successful final demo of the first phase of the Hybris-C1 project. [Video]


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