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Steve Schaffer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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Constants aren't. Variables won't.    -Murphy's Law of Programming
Steve Schaffer webcam cap for ecaps Steve Schaffer

Contact Info






Mailing Address

Steve Schaffer
M/S: 301-260
4800 Oak Grove Dr.
Pasadena CA, 91109-8099


Steven Schaffer has worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Artificial Intelligence Group as a flight software engineer and research programmer since 2001. He holds undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University. While at CMU, he worked with Gal Kaminka on competetive teams of software agents. He also holds a masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California.

Steve has been involved in deployed autonomous robotics projects ranging from unmanned under-sea, sea-surface, terrestrial, and airborne vehicles, to deep space communication antennas, outward to earth-orbiting spacecraft and martian surface rovers. In addition, he has worked on globally distributed sensorwebs, a robotic drilling rig, autonomous science image analysis, autonomous planning under uncertainty, integration of planning and execution systems, path planning in denied environments, and distributed interferometer mission design studies. Across these, his expertise is in the effective integration of dynamic sensory input and operator goals with larger system operational constraints in order to arrive at an efficient forward-looking plan of action for the robot.

Most recently he has worked on autonomy-assisted mission planning and fault recovery for the Europa Clipper project. Coincidentally, he is also sometimes the AIG webmaster.

Steve's research interests are in multi-agent problem solving, adaptive online algorithms, reasoning about uncertainty, and human-agent interaction. Outside of work, Steve enjoys motorcycling, video games, frisbee, hiking, and incinerating things using the Michele Judd Memorial Giant Fresnel Lens.

Project History


EO1/ASE Sensorweb

Expanded the onboard EO1 Science agent's capabilities to respond to events observed by a network of ground based sensors.
DSN Dish

DSN Scheduling Assistant

Developed GUI and backend planner models to assist human planners in preparing and repairing DSN schedules.

Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment

Supported validation and operation of reactive science agent onboard the EO-1 spacecraft.

Planning With Uncertainty

Designed, implemented, and evaluated a probabilistic reasoning system to augment the existing ASPEN planner.

Autonomous Rover Control

Implemented executive model in TDL for the Rocky 7 and 8 research rover demonstrations.
DSN Dish

DSN Automation

Developed executive infrastructure and models for autonomous control of a single DSN tracking antenna.

Selected Publications

AEGIS Autonomous Targeting for ChemCam on Mars Science Laboratory: Deployment and Results of Initial Science Team Use
R. Francis, T. Estlin, G. Doran, S. Johnstone, D. Gaines, V. Verma, M. Burl, J. Frydenvang, S. MontaƱo, R. C. Wiens, S. Schaffer, O. Gasnault, L. DeFlores, D. Blaney, B. Bornstein
Science Robotics. June 2017.

Expressing Campaign Intent to Increase Productivity of Planetary Exploration Rovers
Daniel Gaines, Gregg Rabideau, Gary Doran, Steve Schaffer, Vincent Wong, Ashwin Vasavada, Robert Anderson
International Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space (IWPSS 2017).
Pittsburgh, PA. June 2017.

Autonomous Science Restart for the Planned Europa Mission with Lightweight Planning and Execution
Vandi Verma, Dan Gaines, Gregg Rabideau, Steve Schaffer, Rajeev Joshi
International Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space (IWPSS 2017).
Pittsburgh, PA. June 2017.
Cloud Filtering and Novelty Detection using Onboard Machine Learning for the EO-1 Spacecraft
K. Wagstaff, S. Chien, A. Altinok, U. Rebbapragada, D. Thompson, S. Schaffer, D. Tran
International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence: AI in the Oceans and Space Workshop.
Melbourne, Australia. August 2017.

Using Operations Scheduling to Optimize Constellation Design
S. Schaffer, A. Branch, S. Chien, S. Broschart, S. Hernandez, K. Belov, J. Lazio, L. Clare, P. Tsao, J. Castillo-Rogez, E. J. Wyatt
International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling Scheduling and Planning Applications Workshop (Spark).
(ICAPS 2016). London, UK. June 2016.

Autonomous Science for the MSL Rover
Tara Estlin, Daniel Gaines, Benjamin Bornstein, Steve Schaffer, Vandi Verma, Robert C. Anderson, Michael Burl, Diana Blaney, Lauren De Flores, Tony Nelson, Roger Wiens
International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence Workshop on Artificial Intelligence in Space (AI Space, IJCAI 2015).
Buenos Aires, Argentina. July 2015.

Timeline-based Space Operations Scheduling with External Constraints
S. Chien, D. Tran, G. Rabideau, S. Schaffer, D. Mandl, S Frye
International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS 2010).
Toronto, Canada. May 2010.

Onboard Classification of Hyperspectral Data on the Earth Observing One Mission
S. Chien, D. Tran, S. Schaffer, G. Rabideau, A. Davies, T. Doggett, R. Greeley, F. Ip, V. Baker, J. Doubleday, R. Castano, D. Mandl, S. Frye, L. Ong, F. Rogez, B. Oaida
Grenoble, France. August 2009.

Power Planning in the International Space Station Domain
R. Knight, S. Schaffer, B. Clement
International Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space (IWPSS 2009).
Pasadena, CA. July 2009.

Sensor Web Enables Rapid Response to Volcanic Activity
A. Davies, S. Chien, R. Wright, A. Miklius, P. Kyle, M. Welsh, J. Johnson, D. Tran, S. Schaffer, R. Sherwood
EOS . v87 #1 January 2006.

Distributed Network Scheduling
B. Clement, S. Schaffer
Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems Conference Poster Session. (AAMAS 2005).
Utrecht, Netherlands. July 2005.

Probabilistic Reasoning for Plan Robustness
Steve Schaffer, Steve Chien, Brad Clement
International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (JCAI 2005)
Edinburgh, Scotland. July 2005.

Validating the Autonomous EO-1 Science Agent
B. Cichy, S. Chien, S. Schaffer, D. Tran, G. Rabideau, R. Sherwood International Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space (IWPSS 2004).
Darmstadt, Germany. June 2004.

CLEaR: A Framework for Balancing Deliberation and Reactive Control
F. Fisher, D. Gaines, T. Estlin, S. Schaffer, C. Chouinard
Artificial Intelligence Planning and Scheduling (AIPS 2002): On-line Planning and Scheduling Workshop.
Toulouse, France. April 2002.

Gamebots: A 3D Virtual World Test-Bed for Multi-Agent Research
R. Adobbati, A. Marshall, A. Scholer, S. Tejada, G. Kaminka, S. Schaffer, C. Sollitto.
Second International Workshop on Infrastructure for Agents, MAS, and Scalable MAS.
Montreal, Canada. May 2001.

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