The workshop will be held on November 4, 2019, in The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, Macau, China in the context of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), one of the largest and highest impact robotics research conferences worldwide.

The workshop will be the first behavior tree-related workshop within the robotics community. We aim to gather all the outstanding researchers interested in BTs to share ideas and lesson learned. For that reason, the workshop format will include invited talks as well as short spotlight presentations followed by interactive sessions.


Behavior Trees is a new powerful tool for task switching and decision making that is receiving an increasing amount of attention in robotics. Recent research is beginning to explore areas such as learning, planning, and control in domains ranging from Micro Air Vehicles to Assembly robotics.

The objectives of this workshop are as follows:

Behavior Trees were developed in the video game industry as a tool to achieve modular, reusable, and flexible behaviors for Non-Player Characters (NPCs), and are now an established tool to the point that BTs are integral parts of game AI textbooks as well as major game engines such as Unity3d, and the Unreal Engine. In the last decade, Behavior Trees have received an increasing amount of attention in robotic as well, with applications in both academia and industry. The main advantages of Behavior Trees with respect to conventional execution architectures, like FSMs, are their ability to combine reactivity with deliberation in a very modular way.

Topics of interest

The following list provides a set of topics (keywords) addressed in the workshop.


Workshop Program

Time Activity
9:00 - 9:30 Invited Talk 1
9:30 - 10:00 Invited Talk 2
10:00 - 10:15 Spotlight presentations for interactive talks 1-5
10:15 - 11:00 Interactive session for interactive talks 1-5
11:00 - 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 - 12:00 Invited Talk 3
12:00 - 12:30 Invited Talk 4
12:30 - 12:45 Spotlight presentations for interactive talks 6-10
12:45 - 13:30 Interactive session for interactive talks 6-10
13:30 - 14:30 Lunch Break
14:30 - 15:00 Invited Talk 5
15:00 - 15:30 Invited Talk 6
15:30 - 15:00 Invited Talk 7
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee Break
16:30 - 18:00 Open Discussion

Invited Speakers (To be confirmed)

Simon Jones (University of the West of England)

Onboard Evolution of Understandable Swarm Behaviours

Designing the individual robot rules that give rise to emergent swarm behaviours is difficult.
The common method of running evolutionary algorithms to automatically discover controllers
in simulation suffers from a major disadvantage; the evolved controllers are often opaque
and hard to understand. We use behaviour trees as the controller architecture because they
are modular, hierarchical and human understandable. We evolve fit controllers in a swarm with
high processing power, use automatic tools to simplify them, and then explain them, an important
factor for safety and acceptance. We look at the design of a suitable behaviour tree architecture,
applying the techniques of Genetic Programming to behaviour trees, the implementation of a fast
parallel simulator and tree interpreter running on the GPUs of our swarm of robots, how large
evolved trees can be automatically simplified to aid analysis, and then explain one of the
evolved controllers.

Francesco Rovida (Aalborg University)

Enrique Coronado (Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology)

Ramviyas Nattanmai Parasuraman (University of Georgia)

Vincent Berenz (Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems)

Call for Papers

Information for Authors

All submissions must be in PDF format, following the IEEE conference style in two-column and be limited to 2 pages: http://ras.papercept.net/conferences/support/support.php

All submissions will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be presented during the workshop in a poster session. A number of selected papers will be presented as oral presentations or spotlight talks.

Send your PDF manuscript by email, with the subject including the prefix "[BTRS IROS 2019]", to the following email: michele.colledanchise[at]iit.it

Important Dates

September 25, 2019 - Submission Deadline

October 15, 2019 - Acceptance/Rejection Notification

November 4, 2019 - Full-day Workshop