Hi there, I'm Aleksei Petrenko

Aleksei photo

I am a Ph.D. student in Robotics and Embedded Systems Lab at University of Southern California, advised by prof. Gaurav Sukhatme. My research focus is deep reinforcement learning and machine learning for robotics.

Before my Ph.D. I spent 8 years in industry, working on software design and architecture, applied machine learning, algorithms, 3D graphics, computer vision and even virtual reality.

Research interests

My main inspiration is a study of intelligent agents.
I want my agents to learn efficiently, with minimal supervision, and to be curious about the world surrounding them. I want to find out which inductive biases we can use to make our agents smarter.
Right now I am actively working on:

  • Topological "landmark"-based environment maps for autonomous exploration in environments with sparse rewards
  • Building predictive models for efficient decision making in stochastic environments (aka Imagination-Augmented Agents for stochastic environments)

Recent projects:

Curiosity-driven Exploration in RL (2018)

Tensorflow implementation of the method "Curiosity-driven Exploration by Self-supervised Prediction" by Pathak et al. for hard exploration tasks in 3D pixel-based environment.
VizDoom maze VizDoom maze sparse

RL agents for a game "MicroTbs" (2017)

An OpenAI Gym-compatible 2D environment and some RL algorithms trained in it: Double DQN, A2C, etc. Inspired by an old game Heroes of Might and Magic III, which is quite challenging for contemporary AI. I designed this environment to resemble some of the features of the original game: scouting, different terrain, picking up resources, etc. A sample video (more in the repository):

Capturing volumetric video (2017)

"4D video" grabber and player for Intel RealSense and Google Tango. The player is based on modified Guibas-Stolfi triangulation algorithm and can generate 3D mesh in realtime (300fps on PC, 100fps on Android). With this software I captured a lot of cool 4D clips:

I also made some algorithm visualizations for fun, check 'em out!

Industry and applied research:

itSeez3D: Avatar SDK (2016-2018)

At itSeez3D I worked on a very interesting project called AvatarSDK. AvatarSDK is a deep-learning based pipeline for human digitization. Check out some of my digital copies automatically generated by our system (and a bonus):

itSeez3D: Mobile 3D scanner (2013-2017)

With itSeez, and later itSeez3D I participated in the development of the 3D scanning software for various structured light sensors. Our results are close to those of professional 3D scanners, for 10-100x less money! Hey, this page needs more Sketchfab embeds:

Other projects & repositories


I don't mind occasionally getting a couple of emails. Let's get in touch!