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; ** Equal advising
    Under Review at Artificial Intelligence Journal, 2022
    Oral, Generalizable Policy Learning in the Physical World Workshop, International Conference of Learning Representations (ICLR), 2022
    Arxiv | Website | Bibtex

  • Leveraging Language for Accelerated Learning of Tool Manipulation
    Allen Z. Ren, Bharat Govil, Tsung-Yen Yang, Karthik Narasimhan, Anirudha Majumdar
    Accepted at Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL), 2022
    Arxiv | Bibtex

  • FlowDrone: Wind Estimation and Gust Rejection on UAVs Using Fast-Response Hot-Wire Flow Sensors
    Nathaniel Simon, Allen Z. Ren, Alexander Piqu ́e, David Snyder, Daphne Barretto, Marcus Hultmark, and Anirudha Majumdar
    Under Review, 2022

  • Failure Prediction with Statistical Guarantees for Vision-Based Robot Control
    Alec Farid*, David Snyder*, Allen Z. Ren, Anirudha Majumdar (*Equal contribution)
    Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS), 2022
    Arxiv | Video | Bibtex

  • 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 | Bibtex

  • Stronger Generalization Guarantees for Robot Learning by Combining Generative Models and Real-World Data
    Abhinav Agarwal, Sushant Veer, Allen Z. Ren, and Anirudha Majumdar
    International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2022
    Arxiv | Bibtex



  • 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 am from Jiangsu, China. At 16 I came to the U.S. alone to continue high school. I speak Wu and Mandarin natively.
I enjoy watching and playing soccer, hitting the gym, and traveling/backpacking. I am also an aviation enthusiast and hold a private pilot license (my story in Chinese).
As much as I want to use my first name in Chinese, Zhiyi, I find it very difficult to pronounce for non-native speakers.