We have prerecorded all talks and uploaded them to YouTube. The talks will NOT be replayed during the workshop. We encourage all participants to watch them ahead of time so that we can make the panel discussions with the speakers more engaging and insightful.

Zoom and RocketChat links

Poster session (gather.town)

Accepted Papers


Applying machine learning to real-world systems such as robotics has been an important part of the NeurIPS community in past years. Progress in machine learning has enabled robots to demonstrate strong performance in helping humans in some household and care-taking tasks, manufacturing and logistics, transportation and monitoring, and many other unstructured and human-centric environments. While these results are promising, access to high-quality, task-relevant data remains one of the largest bottlenecks for successful deployment of such technologies in the real world.

Lifelong learning, transfer, and continuous improvement during deployment is the most likely path to break that barrier. However, accessing these data sources comes with fundamental challenges, which include safety, stability, and the daunting issue of providing supervision for learning while the robot is in operation. Today, unique new opportunities are presenting themselves in this quest for robust, continuous learning: large-scale, self-supervised and multimodal approaches to learning are showing and often exceeding state-of-the-art supervised learning approaches; reinforcement and imitation learning are becoming more stable and data-efficient in real-world settings; new approaches combining strong, principled safety and stability guarantees with the expressive power of machine learning are emerging.

This workshop aims to discuss how these emerging trends in machine learning of self-supervision and lifelong learning can be best utilized in real-world robotic systems. We bring together experts with diverse perspectives on this topic to highlight the ways current successes in the field are changing the conversation around lifelong learning, and how this will affect the future of robotics, machine learning, and our ability to deploy intelligent, self-improving agents to enhance people’s lives.

Scope of contributions:

Invited Speakers


In Pacific Time (San Francisco Time)

07:00 - 07:15 Opening Remarks
07:15 - 07.30 Contributed Talk 1: Continual Learning of Semantic Segmentation using Complementary 2D-3D Data Representations (Best paper runner up)
07:30 - 08:15 Panel: Learning from and Interacting with Humans (Q&A 1)
- Anca Dragan (UC Berkeley)
- Dorsa Sadigh (Stanford)
- Chad Jenkins (Uni. of Michigan)
- Sonia Chernova (Georgia Tech)
- Tamim Asfour (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
Pre-recorded talks to watch before the panel
08:15 - 08:45 Break
08:45 - 09:45 Poster Session 1
09:45 - 10:30 Panel: Domains and Applications (Q&A 2)
- Danica Kragic‬ (KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm)
- Razvan Pascanu (DeepMind)
- Jean-Baptiste Mouret (INRIA)
- Jan Peters (TU Darmstadt)
Pre-recorded talks to watch before the panel
10:30 - 15:15 Break
15:15 - 16:15 Panel: End2End and Modular Systems (Q&A 3)
- Beomjoom Kim (KAIST)
- Eric Eaton (UPenn)
- Nathan Ratliff (NVIDIA)
- Jeannette Bohg (Stanford)
- Hao Su (UC San Diego)
- Claudia Clopath (Imperial College London)
- Roberto Calandra (Facebook AI Research)
Pre-recorded talks to watch before the panel
16:15 - 16:30 Contributed Talk 2: Lifelong Robotic Reinforcement Learning by Retaining Experiences (Best paper award)
16:30 - 17:00 Break
17:00 - 18:00 Poster Session 2
18:00 - 19:00 Debate: Scale (more data/compute) vs smarts (intelligent control/perception algorithms)
- Nathan Ratliff (NVIDIA)
- Eric Eaton (Uni. of Pennsylvania)
- Dorsa Sadigh (Stanford)
- Roberto Calandra (Facebook AI Research)
- Chad Jenkins (Uni. of Michigan)
- Hao Su (UC San Diego)
19:00 - 19:15 Closing Remarks

Poster Session

Gather.Town link

Accepted Papers

Sequential learning theory and practice

Life long and causal models

Robotic perception

Demonstration and Imitation


Program Committee

We would like to thank the program committee for shaping the excellent technical program. They are: Ben Moran, Boris Ivanovic, Jayesh Gupta, Johannes Betz, Johannes , Laura Graesser, Linda van, Lionel Ott, Nemanja Rakicevic, Saeid Amiri, Ted Xiao, Tuomas Haarnoja, Vincent Vanhoucke, Zlatan Ajanovic, Anthony Francis, Dushyant Rao, Edward Johns, Giovanni Franzese, Hermann Blum, Jacob Varley, Jie Tan, Krishan Rana, Michelle Lee, Nishan Srishankar, Peter Karkus, Spencer Richards, Thomas Power, Tomi Silander, Yevgen Chebotar, Yizhe Wu, Yunzhu Li, Abhishek Cauligi, Ashvin Nair, Bernard Lange, Carlos Celemin, Christina Kazantzidou, David Rendleman, Esen Yel, Jianwei Yang, Jihong Zhu, Kunal Menda, Lukas Schmid, Mao Shan, Martina Zambelli, Michel Breyer, Minttu Alakuijala, Preston Culbertson, Sarah Bechtle, Siddharth Karamcheti, Steven Bohez, Thomas Lew, Todor Davchev, Weixuan Zhang

Important dates

Finanicial Support for NeurIPS Attendees - Dec 1 deadline

Submission Instructions

Submissions should use the NeurIPS Workshop template available here and be 4 pages (plus as many pages as necessary for references). The reviewing proces will be double blind, so please submit as anonymous by using ‘\usepackage{neurips_wrl2021}’ in your main tex file.

Accepted papers and eventual supplementary material will be made available on the workshop website. However, this does not constitute an archival publication and no formal workshop proceedings will be made available, meaning contributors are free to publish their work in archival journals or conference.

Submissions can be made at https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com/NEURIPSWRL2021/.

Poster and Camera-Ready Submission Instructions

Camera-ready paper deadline (Nov 19, 2021 AOE)

Poster deadline (Nov 19, 2021 AOE)


  1. There are two poster sessions in the schedule. Which should I attend?

    To accommodate multiple timezones in this virtual workshop format, all posters will be on display in our GatherTown poster floor throughout the duration of the workshop. Authors should, if feasible, try and attend both sheduled sessions to present your poster. If not possible, please present at the session that best works for you.

  2. Can supplementary material be added beyond the 4-page limit and are there any restrictions on it?

    Yes, you may include additional supplementary material, but we ask that it be limited to a reasonable amount (max 10 pages in addition to the main submission) and that it follow the same NeurIPS format as the paper. References do not count towards the limit of 4 pages.

  3. Can a submission to this workshop be submitted to another NeurIPS workshop in parallel?

    We discourage this, as it leads to more work for reviewers across multiple workshops. Our suggestion is to pick one workshop to submit to.

  4. Can a paper be submitted to the workshop that has already appeared at a previous conference with published proceedings?

    We will not be accepting such submissions unless they have been adapted to contain significantly new results (where novelty is one of the qualities reviewers will be asked to evaluate). However, we will accept submissions that are under review at the time of submission to our workshop. For instance, papers that have been submitted to the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2021 can be submitted to our workshop.

  5. My real-robot experiments are affected by Covid-19. Can I include simulation results instead?

    If your paper requires conducting experiments on physical robots and access to the experimental platform is limited due to Covid-19 workplace access restrictions, whenever possible, you may validate your methods through simulation.


For any further questions, you can contact us at neuripswrl2021@robot-learning.ml


We are very thankful to our corporate sponsors, Naver Labs Europe, Google Brain and DeepMind, for enabling us to provide best paper awards and student registration fees.