Presenter: Chris Bregler (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday May 6, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

* Alternate Location: Towne 100 (Heilmeier Hall )*

This talk will cover several research projects centered around the use of vision and motion capture for animation, recognition, and gaming. This includes human movements as diverse as subtle eye-blinks, lip-motions, spine-deformations, human walks and dances, politicians, base-ball pitchers, and online and offline crowd games. The technical content of the talk focuses on the trade-off between data-driven and crowd-sourced models of human motion vs. analytically derived and perceptually driven models using dancers, animators, linguists, and other domain experts.

Presenter's Biography:

Chris Bregler is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at NYU's Courant Institute. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley in 1995 and 1998 and his Diplom from Karlsruhe University in 1993. Prior to NYU he was on the faculty at Stanford University and worked for several companies including Hewlett Packard, Interval, Disney Feature Animation, and LucasFilm's ILM. He was named Stanford Joyce Faculty Fellow and Terman Fellow in 1999. He received the Olympus Prize for achievements in computer vision and AI in 2002, and was named a Sloan Research Fellow in 2003. He was the chair for the SIGGRAPH 2004 Electronic Theater and Computer Animation Festival. At CVPR 2008 he was awarded the IEEE Longuet-Higgins Prize for "Fundamental Contributions in Computer Vision that have withstood the test of time". He holds a few motion capture world records (according to The Motion Capture Society).

Presenter: Siddhartha Srinivasa (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday April 15, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Robots are extremely effective in environments like factory floors that are structured for them, and currently ineffective in environments like our homes that are structured for humans. At the Personal Robotics Lab, we are developing building blocks of perception, navigation, manipulation, and interaction to enable robots to perform useful tasks in environments structured for humans.

Presenter's Biography:

Dr. Siddhartha Srinivasa is a Senior Research Scientist with Intel Labs Pittsburgh.  He founded the Personal Robotics Lab (http://personalrobotics.intel-research.net/) at Intel Pittsburgh and co-directs the Manipulation Lab at CMU.  Dr. Srinivasa's research focus is on developing perception, planning, and learning algorithms that enable robots to accomplish useful manipulation tasks in dynamic and cluttered indoor environments. He co-founded the IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Mobile Manipulation in 2010, is an Associate Editor of IEEE ICRA 2010, 2011, and an Area Chair for RSS 2011. Dr. Srinivasa's work won the Best Paper Award at HRI 2010, and was a Finalist at IEEE ICRA 2009 and 2010, and IROS 2010.

KodLab, part of the GRASP Lab at Penn, officially releases info on their latest RHex robot, X-RHex, to the world. X-RHex is the latest version of the highly mobile RHex platform, designed with greater strength, longer runtime, and more mobility than previous versions, with a modular payload architecture to support a variety of research needs.

Thursday January 20, 2011

KodLab, part of the GRASP Lab at Penn, officially releases info on their latest RHex robot, X-RHex, to the world. X-RHex is the latest version of the highly mobile RHex platform, designed with greater strength, longer runtime, and more mobility than previous versions, with a modular payload architecture to support a variety of research needs.

Presenter: Parikshit Shah (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Wednesday January 26, 2011 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm

In this talk we consider the problem of decentralized control of linear systems. We employ the theory of partially ordered sets to model and analyze a class of decentralized control problems. Posets have attractive combinatorial and algebraic properties; the combinatorial structure enables us to model a rich class of communication structures in systems, and the algebraic structure allows us to reparametrize optimal control problems to convex problems.

Presenter's Biography:

Parikshit Shah is a PhD candidate in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. He received his SM from Stanford University in 2005 and his B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2003.

Presenter: Edwin Olson (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday February 25, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

The MAGIC 2010 competition asked teams of robots to collaboratively perform reconnaissance missions in a 250,000m^2 urban indoor/outdoor environment: explore the area, build a map, and recognize interesting objects--- with as little human intervention as possible.

Presenter's Biography:

Edwin Olson is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan with research interests in robot autonomy, perception, and learning. In 2010, he led Team Michigan to first place in the MAGIC 2010 robotics competition. He received his PhD, M.Eng., and B.S. from MIT, where he was also a core member of MIT's DARPA Urban Challenge team.

Presenter: Thomas Henderson (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday April 29, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

* Alternate Location: Berger Auditorium (Skirkanich Hall 013)*

A wide variety of funding opportunities in robotics exist at the National Science Foundation, and they will be discussed from the viewpoint of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate. This ranges from core programs, to cross-cutting programs (e.g., Smart Health and Wellbeing), closely related programs (e.g., Cyber-Physical Systems), and international programs (e.g., Partnerships in International Research and Education).

Presenter's Biography:

Thomas C. Henderson received his BS in Math with Honors from Louisiana State University in 1973 and his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979. He is currently a rotator (IPA) at the National Science Foundation (since August 2010), and a full Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah. He has been at Utah since 1982, and was a visiting professor at DLR in Germany in 1980, and at INRIA in France in 1981 and 1987, and at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany in 2003. Prof. Henderson was chairman of the Department of Computer Science at Utah from 1991-1997, and was the founding Director of the School of Computing from 2000-2003.

Prof. Henderson is the author of Discrete Relaxation Techniques (University of Oxford Press), and editor of Traditional and Non-Traditional Robotic  Sensors (Springer-Verlag); he served for 15 years as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Robotics and Autonomous Systems and was an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence and IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation. His research interests include autonomous agents, robotics and computer vision, and his ultimate goal is to help realize functional androids. He has produced over 250 scholarly publications, and has been principal investigator on many significant research projects. Prof. Henderson is a Fellow of the IEEE, and received the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology in 2000.

Presenter: Stefano Soatto (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday April 22, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

I will discuss a notion of Information for the purpose of decision and control tasks, as opposed to data transmission and storage tasks implicit in Communication Theory a' la Wiener-Shannon. It is rooted in ideas of J. J. Gibson, and stands in contrast to entropy, complexity or coding length of the data regardless of the use, and regardless of nuisance factors.

Presenter's Biography:

Professor Soatto received his Ph.D. in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology in 1996; he joined UCLA in 2000 after being Assistant and then Associate Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University, Research Associate in Applied Sciences at Harvard University, and Assistant Professor in Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Udine, Italy. He received his D.Ing. degree (highest honors) from the University of Padova- Italy in 1992. Dr. Soatto is the recipient of the David Marr Prize (with Y. Ma, J. Kosecka and S. Sastry of U.C. Berkeley) for work on Euclidean reconstruction and reprojection up to subgroups. He also received the Siemens Prize with the Outstanding Paper Award from the IEEE Computer Society for his work on optimal structure from motion (with R. Brockett of Harvard). He received the National Science Foundation Career Award and the Okawa Foundation Grant. He is a Member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Computer Vision (IJCV), the International Journal of Mathematical Imaging and Vision (JMIV) and Foundations and Trends in Computer Graphics and Vision. See http://vision.ucla.edu for more details.

Presenter: Deborah Gordon (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday March 25, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Ant colonies operate without central control and resemble large distributed systems. An ant’s behavior depends on its recent experience of brief interactions with other ants. In the course of a brief antennal contact, one ant can assess the task of the other using odor cues. A long-term study of the behavior and ecology of harvester ants in the Arizona desert shows how colonies regulate foraging to balance the tradeoff imposed by spending water, while foraging in the desert sun, to obtain water, which is metaboized from seeds.

Presenter's Biography:

Deborah M Gordon is a Professor in the Department of Biology at Stanford. Her research on the collective organization of ant colonies includes studies of the long-term demography and behavior of harvester ant colonies in Arizona; the factors that determine the spread of the invasive Argentine ant in northern California; and the ecology of ant-plant mutualisms in tropical forests in Central America. She is the author of two books, Ants at Work (2000) and Ant Encounters:Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior (2010). She has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences. She is interested in analogies between ant colonies and other distributed networks, and has given talks at TED, Xerox Park, Google Tech, Dagstuhl seminar on distributed algorithms, and at robotics and artificial intelligence conferences.

Presenter: Jorge Cortes (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday April 1, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

This talk considers optimal deployment problems for networks of autonomous robotic sensors and examines their connection with spatial estimation.  Given a spatial random field over a region of interest, robotic sensors can improve the efficiency of data collection, adapt to changes in the environment, and provide a robust response to individual failures.  We illustrate ways in which systems and control can help us design coordination algorithms to cooperatively optimize data collection, minimize the uncertainty of the estimation, account for individual failures in communication, a

Presenter's Biography:

Jorge Cortes is an Associate Professor with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. He received the Licenciatura degree in mathematics from the Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain, in 1997, and the Ph.D. degree in engineering mathematics from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain, in 2001. He held postdoctoral positions at the University of Twente, The Netherlands, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. He was an Assistant Professor with the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz from 2004 to 2007.  He is the author of "Geometric, Control and Numerical Aspects of Nonholonomic Systems" (New York: Springer-Verlag, 2002) and co-author of "Distributed Control of Robotic Networks" (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009).  He received a NSF CAREER award in 2006 and was the recipient of the 2006 Spanish Society of Applied Mathematics Young Researcher Prize. He has co-authored papers that have won the 2008 IEEE Control Systems Outstanding Paper Award and the 2009 SIAM Review SIGEST selection from SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization. He is a IEEE Control Systems Society Distinguished Lecturer (2010-2012).