UCSD ECE276B: Planning & Learning in Robotics (Spring 2022)

Time and Location

  • Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday, 5:00 pm - 6:20 pm, in CENTR 214.

  • Final Exam: Thursday, June 09, 2022, 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm in CENTR 105.

  • Office Hours:

    • Tuesday, 6:20 pm - 7:00 pm, in CENTR 214

    • Thursday, 6:20 pm - 7:00 pm, in CENTR 214

    • Additional office hours: May 24, May 26, June 1, June 7, June 8, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm on Zoom



This course covers optimal control fundamentals and their application to motion planning and decision making in robotics. Topics include Markov decision processes (MDPs), dynamic programming, search-based and sampling-based motion planning, value and policy iteration, linear quadratic regulation (LQR), and some model-free reinforcement learning.


Students are expected to have programming experience at the level of a Data Structures and Algorithms course as well as background in statistical estimation or linear system theory at the level of at least one of the following UCSD courses:


The class assignments consist of theoretical homework, a final exam, and three projects, each including a programming assignment in Python and a project report:

  1. Dynamic Programming

  2. Motion Planning

  3. Infinite-horizon Optimal Control

Students are expected to sign up on Piazza and GradeScope:KY2BGP. Discussion and important announcements will be made on Piazza. The homework should be turned in and will be graded on GradeScope:KY2BGP.


Grading will be based on the following rubric.

Homework 16%
Project 1 18%
Project 2 18%
Project 3 18%
Final Exam 30%


Collaboration and Academic Integrity

Please note that an important element of academic integrity is fully and correctly acknowledging any materials taken from the work of others. You are encouraged to work with other students and to discuss the assignments in general terms (e.g., “Do you understand the A* algorithm?” or “What is the update equation for Value Iteration?”). However, the work you turn in should be your own – you should not split parts of the assignments with other students and you should certainly not copy other students’ code or papers. All projects in this course are individual assignments. More generally, please familiarize yourself with UCSD's Code of Academic Integrity, which applies to this course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for adjudication.

IDEA Engineering Student Center

Please consider participating in the programs and events organized by the IDEA Engineering Student Center. The IDEA center, located to the right of the lobby of Jacobs Hall, is a hub for student engagement, academic enrichment, personal and professional development, leadership, community involvement, and a respectful learning environment for all. The IDEA center's mission is to foster an inclusive and welcoming community, promote academic success, develop engineering leaders, and, most importantly, support your mental health and wellness needs. These opportunities can be found on the IDEA Center Facebook page and the Center's web site.