Call for Papers


  • Call announced – June 13, 2023
  • Submissions due – October 18 2023 (extended from the previously announced September 15 deadline)
  • Notification – January, 2024
  • Conference – May 24-25, 2024

Download the .DOCS Paper Template here: Paper template

Submit the final paper using our Submission Portal here: Submit your paper here

Download the detailed Paper Submission Guidelines as a PDF here

Beyond Optimization

The growing presence of robotics in art, research, design, and construction has changed the way we practice and think through our tools. Since 2012, when the first ROB|ARCH conference was held, the role of robotics in creative practices and manufacturing industries has grown, shifted, and evolved. Robots are no longer a shiny novelty restricted to niche research proposals but are now a fundamental technical tool for interfacing between digital and physical worlds.

Even our understanding of what a robot can look like has evolved: the inter-disciplinary discourse that has emerged around digital fabrication machines and industrial arms now includes myriad robot morphologies, scales, and applications — think aerial machines for construction, choreographed robotic swarms in performance, millimeter-scale robots for medical applications. In some ways, we have witnessed our machines grow up along with the discipline; no longer restricted to the structured environments of research labs, they have entered the real world and taken their place within it.

Acknowledging the momentum of these shifts within our broader social, political, and environmental contexts, ROB|ARCH 2024 urges its community to reflect on this moment with a critical lens. We aim to create space for discussion across technical and critical discourses that welcomes a diverse group of researchers, artists, and thinkers in robotics and beyond.

Paper Call

Any practice involving robotics engages multiple realms of knowledge and discourse, requiring an intuitive ability to manage interdependent parameters. As these knowledge-making practices are further encoded and augmented by other intelligences, ROB|ARCH 2024 seeks to reflect on interdependence: both between the parameters that define our work and in the new relationships we must build.

One way of managing complex sets of interdependent parameters is optimization: a range of computational methods for finding best-fit solutions within a mathematical design space we might call ‘parametric’. As a metaphor, however, it implies that computational models can accurately represent the messy, interdependent systems that make up our physical world. Furthermore, it encourages a workflow wherein we model the physical to represent it digitally, then use this imperfect model to interact with the physical world through machine bodies. Staggered layers of abstraction—physical to digital and back—leave much of the intricacies of materiality, process, and politics lost in translation. Our optimizations can only be as accurate as the mathematical models that underpin them, so a fundamental problem of resolution both limits optimization’s applicability and demands an alternative. As complex real-world environments require complex solutions, we must move beyond sterile parametric models and embrace the messy, stochastic reality of the incomputable.

This year’s theme, Beyond Optimization, is intended as a provocation: to reflect on the changes affecting the field of robotics in art, design, and architecture—and to respond, by shifting priorities and examining the criteria by which we evaluate research. We aim towards inclusion of a broad range of actors, voices, disciplines, and contexts. Beyond Optimization, then, implies a plurality of approaches and corresponding questions.

  • How do we meaningfully interact with the real world, given the impossibility of truly modeling it—and how might we build machines that embrace and complicate this condition?
  • How do we design physical and digital machine systems that sense unstructured, real-world input while incorporating low-tolerance criteria for the output of robotic processes?
  • How do we broaden our scope beyond the technical to account for the urgent, intersecting climate and inequality emergencies? What new machine bodies and intelligences will emerge from this rethinking?
  • How do our choices of technological approaches, as methods, become metaphors for their own consequences?
  • How do we imagine future machine systems—and their entanglements—in response to emerging needs and ongoing injustices, rather than perpetuate existing infrastructures of space and power?
  • How do we address the implicit ways our technologies and methodologies are rooted in power structures, and shift power from communities that robotics have historically served towards those they have excluded or harmed?

Papers submitted to Beyond Optimization should aim to respond to these questions—or pose their own. 

Submission Details

Download the .DOCS Paper Template here: Paper template

Submit the final paper using our Submission Portal here: Submit your paper here

Download the detailed Paper Submission Guidelines as a PDF here

Please follow the content and illustration guidelines provided in the Paper Submission Guidelines for your ROB|ARCH 2024 paper submission in addition to the general submission guidelines provided by Springer (see Springer Guidelines for Authors of Proceedings). In case of conflicting information, please give priority to the information provided on this document.

Kindly ONLY use the provided *.DOCM template for your paper (do NOT use the LaTeX package provided by Springer). While structuring your paper, make sure to follow the rules stated in Chapter 2 of Springer Guidelines for Authors of Proceedings. Please use only the styles provided as macros in the MS Word template (do not “make it look like it”). Using the styles provided by Springer from the beginning will save considerable work and effort on all sides. A full scientific paper should be between 8-10 pages (3000 – 4000 words). Please use this link to submit the final paper: Paper Submission Portal.

For all paper submission questions, please email with a subject line addressed to the conference’s Scientific Chairs.


  • No abstract submission is required. October 18th deadline is for full paper submissions

Past Proceedings: