Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 12 (NIPS 1999)
Kevin P. Murphy
We consider the problem of learning a grid-based map using a robot with noisy sensors and actuators. We compare two approaches: online EM, where the map is treated as a fixed parameter, and Bayesian inference, where the map is a (matrix-valued) random variable. We show that even on a very simple example, online EM can get stuck in local minima, which causes the robot to get "lost" and the resulting map to be useless. By contrast, the Bayesian approach, by maintaining multiple hypotheses, is much more ro(cid:173) bust. We then introduce a method for approximating the Bayesian solution, called Rao-Blackwellised particle filtering. We show that this approximation, when coupled with an active learning strategy, is fast but accurate.