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).

Presenter: Zhengyou Zhang (Homepage)

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

With the launch of Microsoft Kinect sensors for Xbox 360, depth cameras are becoming affordable for the vision and robotics communities because the mass game market drives the cost down. This could present a revolution in our research. Previously very difficult vision tasks with video cameras become easier, such as foreground-background separation. However, there still exist many challenges. In this talk, I will present some research projects conducted at Microsoft Research, related to human activity understanding with depth sensors.

Presenter's Biography:

Zhengyou Zhang is a Principal Researcher with Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA, USA, and manages the multimodal collaboration research team. Before joining Microsoft Research in March 1998, he was with INRIA (French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control), France, for 11 years and was a Senior Research Scientist from 1991. In 1996-1997, he spent a one-year sabbatical as an Invited Researcher with the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR), Kyoto, Japan. He has published over 200 papers in refereed international journals and conferences, and has coauthored the following books: 3-D Dynamic Scene Analysis: A Stereo Based Approach (Springer-Verlag, 1992); Epipolar Geometry in Stereo, Motion and Object Recognition (Kluwer, 1996); Computer Vision (Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1998, 2003, in Chinese); Face Detection and Adaptation (Morgan and Claypool, 2010), and Face Geometry and Appearance Modeling (Cambridge University Press, 2011). He has given a number of keynotes in international conferences.

Dr. Zhang is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development, an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Computer Vision, and an Associate Editor of Machine Vision and Applications. He served as Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence from 2000 to 2004, an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Multimedia from 2004 to 2009, among others. He has been chairs or members of the program committees for numerous international conferences in the areas of autonomous mental development, computer vision, signal processing, multimedia, and human-computer interaction. More information is available at http://research.microsoft.com/~zhang/

Presenter: Richard Voyles (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday March 4, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Robotics and Cyber-Physical Systems are ushering in a new age of engineering design with new techniques and new materials. The old way of design in which we assume decoupled, low-order, block-diagonal models is breaking down at all levels and all scales. This presents numerous problems as our ad hoc design methods are not able to properly account for, test and validate systems of greatly increasing complexity.

Presenter's Biography:

Dr. Voyles received the B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1983, the M.S. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University in 1989, and the Ph.D. in Robotics from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in 1997. He is currently a Program  Director in the Cyber Physical Systems program and Major Research Instrumentation program at the National Science Foundation and a Senior Member of the IEEE. On leave from the University of Denver, Dr. Voyles is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Previously, he was Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Minnesota and a Site Director of the NSF Safety, Security, and Rescue Research Center. Dr.Voyles' research interests are in the areas of cyber physical systems, robotics and artificial intelligence. Specifically, he is interested in the development of small, resource-constrained robots and robot teams for urban search and rescue and surveillance. Dr. Voyles has additional expertise in sensors and sensor calibration, particularly haptic and force sensors, manipulation and real-time control. Dr. Voyles' industrial experience includes Dart Controls, IBM Corp., Integrated Systems, Inc., and Avanti Optics as well as three start-up companies. He has also served on the boards of various start-ups and non-profit groups, including The Works, a hands-on, minds-on engineering discovery center.

Presenter: Pedro Felzenszwalb (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday February 18, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Object detection is one of the fundamental challenges in computer vision.  In this talk I will consider the problem of detecting objects from a generic category, such as people or cars, in static images. This is a difficult problem because objects in such categories can vary greatly in appearance. For example, people wear different clothes and take a variety of poses while cars come in various shapes and colors. We have built an object detection system that addresses this challenge using mixtures of deformable part models.

Presenter's Biography:

Pedro F. Felzenszwalb is an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago.  He received his PhD from MIT in 2003.  His main research interests are in computer vision, geometric algorithms and artificial intelligence.  His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, including a CAREER award received in 2008.  He is currently serving as a program chair for the 2011 IEEE CVPR.  He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence and an Editorial Board Member for the International Journal of Computer Vision.  In 2010 he received the IEEE CVPR Longuet-Higgins Prize for fundamental contributions to computer vision and the PASCAL Visual Object Challenge "Lifetime Achievement" prize.

Presenter: Louis Whitcomb (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday February 4, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

This talk reports a brief overview of the Nereus vehicle design, and reviews the initial results of the dives conducted on these expeditions, including two dives to more than 10,900 m depth.  In May/June 2009 Nereus successfully performed scientific observation and sampling operations at hadal depths of 10,903 m on a NSF sponsored expedition to the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench – the deepest place on Earth.  In October 2009 the vehicle successfully performed autonomous survey and tel

Presenter's Biography:

Louis L. Whitcomb completed his Ph.D. degree at Yale University in 1992. His research focuses on the dynamics and control of robot systems – including industrial, medical, and underwater robots. Whitcomb is a principal investigator of the Nereus Project.  He is founding Director of the JHU Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics. Whitcomb is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, with secondary appointment in the Department of Computer Science, at the Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering, and Adjunct Scientist, Department of Applied Ocean Physics and EngineeringWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution.