CS327A: Advanced Robotic Manipulation

This course focuses on advanced control methodologies and novel design techniques for complex human-like robotic systems. It provides an extensive coverage of the task- oriented operational space formulation, and discusses its application to the challenges of interactive whole-body control of humanoid robots. The presentation of the material starts with the basic models and control structure of a simple robot arm and culminates with the most recent developments on the control of humanoid robots. The framework addresses various challenging problems, which include: (i) the motion coordination of the large number of degrees of humanoid robots; (ii) the effective control of their contacts and interactions with the environment; (iii) the maintenance of their internal and external constraints; (iv) and the strategies for dealing with their underactuation and balance. The above issues are all treated in a unified fashion within a general control structure that addresses the whole body dynamics for specifications involving multiple distributed tasks and postures in consistency with the requirements of multiple distributed contacts and constraints. Other fundamental issues in human centered robotics will be also examined in this course. These include: (i) the synthesis of human movements to produce human- like robot behaviors; (ii) the critical issue of robot safety and the design requirements for human-friendly robots that conceived to operate in human environments (iii) the elastic planning methodology for real-time modifications of existing motion plans; (iv) and various other efficient algorithms that address the computational challenges associated with human-like robotic structures. In addition to the lectures, this course includes reviews of papers on wide range of topics relevant to advanced robotics. These reviews, which are done by groups of students, will be presented at a mini- symposium held at the end of the quarter.


Mon, Wed 3:00-4:20 PM (Pacific Time)

Course Reader

Order Online at the Stanford Bookstore here

Office Hours

See below at Staff section.


Please sign up on Piazza .

Grading (Updated 05-18-20)

Homework: 50%
Symposium Topic Presentation: 30%
Take-Home Test: 20%


4 assignments.
All must be submitted in order to receive a grade. Late submissions require approval.
Due @ midnight on Gradescope.


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Oussama Khatib


Office hours : Mon 4:30-5:30 PM and Wed 4:30-5:30 PM (Pacific Time)
Please email ahead of time to confirm availability.
Zoom Meeting Link avaliable on Canvas

Wesley Guo

Course Assistant

Office hours : Tue 2:00-3:00 PM and Thu 2:00-3:00 PM (Pacific Time) (starting Apr 16th)
Zoom Meeting Link avaliable on Canvas


Date Lecture Symposium/Project (tentative) Homework (tentative)
Mon, Apr 06 Introduction and Course Review
Wed, Apr 08 Simulation and the SAI Environment
Friday, Apr 10 IMPORTANT: Software Setup Session (01:00PM - 03:00PM Pacific Time)
Mon, Apr 13 Kinematics and Dynamics
Wed, Apr 15 Operational Space Formulation Homework 1 Out (Due Apr 24)
Mon, Apr 20 Unified Motion and Force Control
Wed, Apr 22 Redundancy
Friday, Apr 24 Homework 2 Out (Due May 04)
Saturday, Apr 25 Homework 1 Due
Mon, Apr 27 Inertial Properties Symposium Groups Formation
Wed, Apr 29 Cooperative Robots Final Symposium Groups
Mon, May 04 Mobile Manipulation
Wed, May 06 Humanoid Robots Individual Symposim Group Meetings
Thu, May 07 Homework 2 Due
Homework 3 Out (Due May 18)
Mon, May 11 Haptics Individual Symposim Group Meetings
Wed, May 13 Elastic Planning Individual Symposim Group Meetings
Mon, May 18 Human Motion Understanding Individual Symposim Group Meetings Homework 3 Due
Homework 4 Out (Due May 29)
Wed, May 20 Robot Skills
Mon, May 25 Memorial Day (Holiday, No Lecture) Session Proposal Presentation
Wed, May 27 Robot Control Architecture
Friday, May 29 Homework 4 Due
Mon, Jun 01 Lecture Review
Mon, Jun 03 Advanced Topics
Mon, Jun 08 Mini-Symposium Tentative Time: 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM (Pacific Time)
Mon, Jun 08 (05:00 PM) - Wed, Jun 10 (05:00 PM) Take-Home Test
Wed, Jun 10 No Class (to accomodate test)

Detailed Info

Website & Other Information Channels

The course website will be on Canvas. All course materials will be shared through the Canvas website, including important class announcements from the Teaching Staff. All assignments should be submitted via Gradescope. We also have a class discussion forum on Piazza. If you have a question, please email both Professor Khatib and Wesley.

Lecture Format

Lectures will be held on Zoom this quarter on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:00-4:20 PM (Pacific Standard Time). The meeting link for all lectures can be found on Canvas. To join, you must sign in to your Zoom account with your Stanford email. Register your Stanford Zoom account by clicking Log In at this link . We encourage everyone to attend lecture online if possible, but if you miss an individual lecture period contact us and we can share a recording with you. Additionally, contact us if you have time-zone related concerns. Recordings of lectures will not be made available otherwise.



There will be 4 homework problem sets. The homework sets will require the use of the SAI-2 simulation interface. We will distribute the simulator and installation instructions in the first week of class. All assignments will be submitted to Gradescope by 11:59pm on the due date. Sign up for the course using entry code 9W6E85. Late submissions will require approval - contact both Professor Khatib and Wesley.

Collaboration Policy

Although group discussion and work is encouraged, each student should submit their own assignment and perform any necessary calculations/coding fill-ins on their own.

Symposium Presentation

To further explore current advances in Robotics, students will form group and create a presentation covering a specific sub-area of their interest. These presentations will be made to the entire class in the form of mini-sympoisum. More details to come later this quarter.


This class will have a take-home final, distributed in the last week of class. More details to come later this quarter.


Regrades will also be handled through Gradescope. We will begin to accept regrades for an assignment the day after grades are released for a window of three days. We will not accept regrades for an assignment outside of that window. Regrades are intended to remedy grading errors, so regrade requests must discuss why you believe your answer is correct in light of the deduction you received. We do not accept regrade requests of the form "I deserve more points for this" or "that deduction is too harsh".

Students with Documented Disabilities

Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). Professional staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty dated in the current quarter in which the request is made. Students should contact the OAE as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone: 723-1066, URL: http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/oae).

The Stanford University Fundamental Standard is a part of this course.

It is Stanford’s statement on student behavioral expectations articulated by Stanford’s first President David Starr Jordan in 1896. It is agreed to by every student who enrolls at Stanford. The Fundamental Standard states: Students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the university such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens. Failure to do this will be sufficient cause for removal from the university.

The Stanford University Honor Code is a part of this course.

It is Stanford’s statement on academic integrity first written by Stanford students in 1921. It articulates university expectations of students and faculty in establishing and maintaining the highest standards in academic work. It is agreed to by every student who enrolls and by every instructor who accepts appointment at Stanford.
The Honor Code states:

  • The Honor Code is an undertaking of the students, individually and collectively
    • that they will not give or receive aid in examinations; that they will not give or receive unpermitted aid in class work, in the preparation of reports, or in any other work that is to be used by the instructor as the basis of grading;
    • that they will do their share and take an active part in seeing to it that others as well as themselves uphold the spirit and letter of the Honor Code.
  • The faculty on its part manifests its confidence in the honor of its students by refraining from proctoring examinations and from taking unusual and unreasonable precautions to prevent the forms of dishonesty mentioned above. The faculty will also avoid, as far as practicable, academic procedures that create temptations to violate the Honor Code.
  • While the faculty alone has the right and obligation to set academic requirements, the students and faculty will work together to establish optimal conditions for honorable academic work.