UCSD ECE276B: Planning & Learning in Robotics (Spring 2023)

Time and Location

  • Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday, 5:00 pm - 6:20 pm, in CENTR 119.

  • Final Exam: Wednesday, June 14, 2023, 8:00 am - 11:00 am in CENTR 119.

  • Office Hours:

    • Tuesday, 6:20 pm - 7:30 pm, in CENTR 119

    • Friday, 10:00 am - 11:00 am, on Zoom



This course covers optimal control fundamentals and their application to motion planning and decision making in robotics. The course topics include Markov decision processes (MDPs), dynamic programming, search-based and sampling-based motion planning, value and policy iteration, linear quadratic regulation (LQR), and 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 probabilistic 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. The three projects focus on:

  1. Dynamic Programming

  2. Motion Planning

  3. Infinite-horizon Optimal Control

Students are expected to sign up on Piazza and GradeScope:BBWEB4. Discussion and important announcements will be made on Piazza. The homework should be turned in and will be graded on GradeScope:BBWEB4.


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

Integrity of scholarship is essential for an academic community. To protect the validity of intellectual work both faculty and students must honor this principle. For students, this means that all academic work will be done by the individual to whom it is assigned, without unauthorized aid of any kind. It is dishonest to cheat on exams, copy other people's work, or fake experimental results. Cheating, plagiarism and any other form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. An important element of academic integrity is also fully and correctly acknowledging any materials taken from the work of others. Never claim work or ideas to be yours if they are not, and never aid others in cheating, e.g., by offering them your solutions. Do not upload solutions or assignments online, even after you have finished the course. You are encouraged to discuss the assignments with other students but please note that all assignments in this course are individual and the work you turn in should be entirely your own! Use of other students’ course work, in part or in total, to develop, complete or correct course work is unauthorized. Each student is responsible for knowing and abiding by UCSD's Code of Academic Integrity. Instances of academic dishonesty will be penalized by grade reduction at the instructor's discretion and will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct for adjudication. Committing acts that violate Student Conduct policies are cause for suspension or dismissal from UCSD.

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.