Yaru Niu



5000 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Hi! I am a second-year PhD candidate at CMU Safe AI Lab, advised by Prof. Ding Zhao. Previously, I received an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, working with Prof. Matthew Gombolay. Before that, I received a B.E. in Intelligence Science and Technology at South China University of Technology. I also spent wonderful time as a research intern at Baidu Research with Dr. Liangjun Zhang, and at Berkeley with Prof. Masayoshi Tomizuka.

My research interest lies at the intersection of robotics, machine learning, and multi-agent systems. My research goal is to build methodologies for collaborative, interpretable, and reliable intelligent robotic systems that can interact with complex environments around them.

My Chinese name is 牛雅儒 (Niu-Ya-Ru), where my first name (雅儒) means a scholar with elegance in ancient Chinese.

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Jun, 2024 LocoMan is accepted to IROS 2024.
May, 2024 Our work LocoMan is covered by TechXplore, IEEE Spectrum, CMU Engineering, GlobalSpec, and Interesting Engineering.
Jan, 2024 Our work on modular policies for snake robots is accepted to ICRA 2024.
Nov, 2023 Our work RoboTool is covered by TechXplore, ML@CMU Blog, and CMU Engineering.
Jun, 2023 Our work on goal-conditioned curriculum reinforcement leanring for robotic scooping is accepted to IROS 2023.
Jan, 2023 Our work on group distributionally robust reinforcement learning is accepted to AISTATS 2023.
Jun, 2022 Our work on interactive motion prediction for autonomous driving is accepted to IROS 2022.
May, 2022 I graduate from Georgia Tech. Thank you, GT. Check out my MS Thesis.
Apr, 2022 Our work Interpretable Continuous Control Tree (ICCT) is accepted to RSS 2022!
Oct, 2021 Our work Multi-Agent Graph-Attention Communication (MAGIC) receives the Best Paper Award at ICCV 2021 Mair2 Workshop!

Selected Publications

Notation * indicates equal contributions.

  1. LocoMan: Advancing Versatile Quadrupedal Dexterity with Lightweight Loco-Manipulators
    In International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2024
    Spotlight talk at ICRA 2024 Workshop on Future Roadmap for Manipulation SKills
  2. COMPOSER: Scalable and Robust Modular Policies for Snake Robots
    Yuyou ZhangYaru NiuXingyu LiuDing Zhao
    In International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2024
    Abridged in CoRL 2023 Workshop on Learning for Soft Robots: Hard Challenges for Soft Systems (Spotlight)
  3. Safety-aware Causal Representation for Trustworthy Reinforcement Learning in Autonomous Driving
    Haohong LinWenhao DingZuxin LiuYaru NiuJiacheng Zhu, Yuming Niu, Ding Zhao
    Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), 2024
    Abridged in Machine Learning for Autonomous Driving Symposium
  4. GOATS: Goal Sampling Adaptation for Scooping with Curriculum Reinforcement Learning
    In International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2023
    Abridged in ICRA 2023 Workshop on Representing and Manipulating Deformable Objects [PDF] [Spotlight Talk]
  5. Interpretable Reinforcement Learning for Robotics and Continuous Control
    Rohan Paleja*Letian Chen*Yaru Niu*Andrew SilvaZhaoxin LiSongan Zhang, Chace Ritchie, Sugju Choi, Kimberlee Chestnut Chang, Hongtei Eric TsengYan Wang, Subramanya Nageshrao, Matthew Gombolay
    arXiv preprint, 2023
  6. Group Distributionally Robust Reinforcement Learning with Hierarchical Latent Variables
    Mengdi XuPeide HuangYaru Niu, Visak Kumar, Jielin Qiu, Chao Fang, Kuan-Hui Lee, Xuewei Qi, Henry LamBo LiDing Zhao
    In International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS), 2023
    In 5th Symposium on Advances in Approximate Bayesian Inference
  7. Domain Knowledge Driven Pseudo Labels for Interpretable Goal-Conditioned Interactive Trajectory Prediction
    Lingfeng Sun*Chen Tang*Yaru Niu, Enna Sachdeva, Chiho Choi, Teruhisa Misu, Masayoshi TomizukaWei Zhan
    In International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2022
  8. Adaptable and Scalable Multi-Agent Graph-Attention Communication
    Yaru Niu
    Committee:  Matthew Gombolay Ayanna Howard Sonia Chernova
    Master’s Thesis, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2022
  9. Learning Interpretable, High-Performing Policies for Autonomous Driving
    Rohan Paleja*Yaru Niu*Andrew Silva, Chace Ritchie, Sugju Choi, Matthew Gombolay
    In Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS), 2022
  10. Multi-Agent Graph-Attention Communication and Teaming
    In International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS), 2021 (Oral)
    Best Paper Award at ICCV 2021 Mair2 Workshop [PDF] [Spotlight Talk]
  11. Real-Time Whole-Body Imitation by Humanoid Robots and Task-Oriented Teleoperation using an Analytical Mapping Method and Quantitative Evaluation
    Zhijun Zhang*Yaru Niu*, Ziyi Yan, Shuyang Lin
    Applied Sciences, 2018