General Information

In response to the COVID-19 global crisis, we are implementing the following changes to WAFR 2020:
  • Given that a physical meeting in the summer of 2021 is likely impossible, and in consultation with the WAFR steering committee, we regret to announce that there will not be a WAFR 2021 meeting. For the accepted papers to WAFR 2020, we will be in touch with the authors to collect presentation videos for creating a central YouTube channel for dissemination.
  • The physical meeting will be postponed by one year, but remain in Oulu.  The new dates are June 21-23, 2021.
  • The current paper review and notification process will be completed with only minor delay.
  • Unlike the typical process wherein the Springer Lecture Notes volume appears several months after the physical meeting, we will be adjusting this usual sequence of events. Instead, steps will be taken to make all accepted papers available online immediately and then have them appear within the Springer volume as soon as possible. Hence, the papers accepted in 2020 will appear online, be officially registered publications as if WAFR were held this June as originally intended, and hence be eligible for journal submission, including via invitation to an associated special issue of IJRR.
  • A second round of paper submissions and reviews is planned, with a schedule that is roughly 12 months later than the 2020 round.  Thus, authors of rejected papers could resubmit their papers after taking into account reviews, or completely new submissions could be considered.
  • The meeting in June 2021 can be considered as a “Mega-WAFR”, in which papers from both rounds (2020 and 2021) are presented.  Authors of the 2020 papers will be welcome to include in their presentations any progress in their research during the extra year.

We are sorry for the inconvenience, but after much thought and deliberation, we believe this is the best way to preserve the quality and charm of this special meeting.

Best wishes from the WAFR Co-Chairs, and please stay safe and healthy.

Dylan, JJ, Ming, Steve, and Timo


Algorithms are a fundamental component of robotic systems: they control or reason about motion and perception in the physical world. They receive input from noisy sensors, consider geometric and physical constraints, and operate on the world through imprecise actuators. The design and analysis of robot algorithms therefore raises a unique combination of questions in control theory, computational and differential geometry, and computer science.

The Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics (WAFR) is a multi-disciplinary single-track workshop with submitted and invited papers on advances on algorithmic problems in robotics. WAFR was created in 1994 as a small-size workshop. It has been held every other year since 1994 and while it spans a relatively small community, it has an established reputation as one, if not the most, important venue for presenting algorithmic work related to robotics. The workshop proceedings will be published in the Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics (SPAR) series.

The topics of interest are very broad since the focus of WAFR is on algorithm development and analysis rather than specific problems or applications. Increasingly, robotics algorithms are finding use in areas far beyond the traditional scope of robots. Therefore, while we encourage submissions on fundamental topics such as complexity, completeness, and computational geometry, we also welcome papers in applications such as computational biology, virtual environments, sensor networks, manufacturing, and medical robotics. Papers on algorithmic developments in traditional areas of robotics, such as motion planning, manipulation, sensing, and mobile robotics, as well as papers in newer areas such as distributed robotics and simultaneous localization and mapping, are also encouraged.

The 14th International Workshop on Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics (WAFR) will be held on June 21-23, 2021 at the Sokos Hotel Eden, Oulu, Finland.

Important Dates

Abstract submission deadlineJanuary 31, 2020
Paper submission deadlineFebruary 5, 2020  February 10, 2020 (FINAL)
Notification of acceptanceMarch 31, 2020
Preliminary paper submission deadlineMay 15, 2020
WAFR attendanceJune 15-17, 2020  June 21-23, 2021
Final paper submission for bookJuly 15, 2020

Oulu, Finland

Oulu lies on the Baltic sea and, with over 200,000 people, is the fifth most populous city in Finland. It also lies at 65 degrees north latitude (slightly further north than Fairbanks, Alaska). The city center is packed with restaurants, coffee shops, bars, markets, and stores, all within easy walking distance. The city is located at the delta of the Oulu River, which results in many scenic islands, waterways, and bridges throughout the city. Oulu is densely covered with quiet, separated pedestrian/bicycle roads that are intertwined with dense forests (mainly pine, spruce, and birch) and waterways. Beautiful nature is all around.

Oulu Theater
Aerial River delta view
Rotuaari (city center)