Allen Z. Ren     任至意


Ph.D. Student
Intelligent Robot Motion (IRoM) Lab
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Princeton University

Advisor: Prof. Anirudha Majumdar


My research interests lie in improving generalization performance and safety of agile robotic systems under rich sensing
and allowing their fast adaptation in new, potentially out-of-distribution tasks and environments. I am particularly
excited to leverage algorithmic and theoretical tools from machine learning, optimization, optimal control theory, and
3D modeling to tackle robotic tasks including contact-rich manipulation, legged robot navigation, and drone maneuvering in wind.

Ph.D. Research

  • Sim-to-Lab-to-Real: Safe Reinforcement Learning with Shielding and Generalization Guarantees
    Kai-Chieh Hsu^, Allen Z. Ren^, Duy Phuong Nguyen, Jaime F. Fisac, and Anirudha Majumdar
    ^Equal contribution in alphabetical order
    Under Review

  • Distributionally Robust Policy Learning via Adversarial Environment Generation
    Allen Z. Ren, Anirudha Majumdar
    IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), 2022 Arxiv | IEEE | Code | Video

  • Stronger Generalization Guarantees for Robot Learning by Combining Generative Models and Real-World Data
    Abhinav Agarwal, Sushant Veer, Allen Z. Ren, and Anirudha Majumdar
    Under review, 2021 Arxiv



  • Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering, Princeton University, 2019-Present

  • M.S.E. Robotics, Johns Hopkins University, 2018-2019

  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Minor in Mathematics, Johns Hopkins University, 2015-2019
    Advisor: Prof. Chen Li

Undergraduate Research

  • Built insect-inspired legged robots and investigated general principles of terrestrial locomotion through robophysical experiments APS 2018, BB 2019

  • Developed a proprioceptive contact-detection leg observer for Minitaur robot and applied it to disturbance and touchdown detection during stair climbing, with Prof. Aaron Johnson RISS 2018

  • Built a “smart” guitar that measures forces applied by the fingers at 72 locations on the fretboard IEEE Sensor 2019, More details


About Me

I was born in Jiangsu, China and grew up there until 16 when I continued high school in the U.S. I can speak Mandarin, English, and Wu fluently.
I enjoy watching and playing soccer, hitting the gym, and traveling/backpacking. I am also an aviation enthusiast and hold a private pilot license.
As much as I want to use my legal first name, Zhiyi, I find it very difficult to pronounce for non-native speakers