Thursday April 15, 2010

The GRASP Lab participates in the AVUSI, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, event on Capitol Hill for the celebration of National Robotics Week. View details on Robotics Online.

Monday April 5, 2010

Ben Taskar has been named, as one of 17, for the Office of Naval Research's 2010 Young Investigator Program recipients. View Recipients here...

Wednesday April 7, 2010

Shaudi Mahdavi-Hosseini, a GRASP Lab PhD Candidate in Electrical and Sytems Engineering under Ali Jadbabaie, just received a well-deserved and very competitive 2010 graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Here is a list of the awardees, NSF Fastlane.

Presenter: Yanxi Liu (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Tuesday April 6, 2010 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm

* Alternate Location: Levine 512 (3330 Walnut Street)*

Symmetry is an essential mathematical concept, as well as a ubiquitous, observable phenomenon in nature, science and art. Either by evolution or by design, symmetry implies an efficiency coding that makes it universally appealing, especially so to computational science. Recognition and categorization of symmetry and regularity is the first step towards capturing the essential skeleton of a real world problem, while at the same time minimizing computational redundancy.

Wednesday March 31, 2010

The Robotics Mentor program was created to link current Penn engineering students with high school robotics teams in the Philadelphia School District.  The mentors work either on Penn’s campus or in the schools during club time to help guide students through the engineering design process, electronics, programming, and construction.  Mentors, through robotics, will be showing students the exciting possibilities of STEM education.

Thursday March 18, 2010

The GRASP lab was invited by the Secondary Robotics Initiative to exhibit at the 2010 National Science Teachers Association Conference, March 18th-19th, at the Philadelphia Convention Center.  The conference exhibit exposed K-12 teachers to GRASP and the possibilities of bringing the interdisciplinary world of robotics into the classroom. The RHex, CKbot and a Scarab all made appearances accompanied by video footage of the Bots in action. 

Friday March 26, 2010

Joe Romano, GRASP PhD student, won the Best Short Oral Presentation Award at the IEEE 2010 Haptics Symposium for his talk on "Realistic haptic contacts and textures for tablet computing," a hands-on demonstration co-authored by Dr. Katherine Kuchenbecker.  This award was determined by audience vote and was comprised of 77 contestants.

Presenter: Leslie Kaelbling (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday April 30, 2010 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

* Alternate Location: Berger Auditorium (Skirkanich Hall)*

Most work on robot grasping concentrates on geometric questions of how best to place the fingers in order to achieve a stable grasp, and typically assumes that the relative pose of the robot and object are known fairly accurately. In this talk, I will outline an approach to robust grasping when the object's pose is initially estimated using vision or some other sensor modality with a fair amount of residual uncertainty.

Presenter's Biography:

Leslie Pack Kaelbling is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has made research contributions to decision-making under uncertainty, learning, and sensing with applications to robotics, with a particular focus on reinforcement learning and planning in partially observable domains.

She holds an A.B in Philosphy and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University, and has had research positions at SRI International and Teleos Research and a faculty position at Brown University. She is the recipient of the US National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowship, the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, and several teaching prizes. She was the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Machine Learning Research, and is a fellow of the AAAI.

Presenter: Michael Kahana (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday April 23, 2010 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

The fundamental problem of episodic memory concerns linking items with their temporal context (during study) and retrieving the context associated with items (during recall). The reinstatement of mental context is distinguished from the idea that remembering solely involves a reactivation of content information that is specific to that event. I will first present behavioral evidence for the idea associations in episodic memory arise from this contextual encoding/retrieval process, and that forgetting largely reflects the loss of effective contextual cues at retrieval.

Presenter's Biography:

Michael Kahana is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Computational Memory Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. from Case Western Reserve University in 1989 and his PhD in Psychology from the University of Toronto in 1993. In 1994, Michael then went on to be a Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology at Harvard University. Michael's main research interests include human memory and its neural mechanisms: especially episodic memory, spatial memory, and recognition memory.  In the Computational Memory Lab, they do a lot of work on brain oscillations, and computational modeling as well.


Presenter: Dimitris Metaxas (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday April 16, 2010 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

We will first present a new class of model-based learning methods which include hypergraph and structured sparse learning for vision understanding. In our hypergraph framework, a hyperedge is defined by a set of vertices with similar attributes. The complex relationship between the mages can be easily represented by different hyperedges according to different visual cues.

Presenter's Biography:

Dr. Dimitris Metaxas is a Professor II (Distinguished) in the Computer Science Department at Rutgers. He got his PhD in 1992 from the University of Toronto and was on the faculty at UPENN from 1992 to 2002. He is currently directing the Center for Computational Biomedicine, Imaging and Modeling (CBIM). Dr. Metaxas has been conducting research towards the development of formal methods upon which both computer vision, computer graphics and medical imaging can advance synergistically, as well as on massive data analytics problems.In computer vision, he works on the simultaneous segmentation and fitting of complex objects, shape representation, deterministic and statistical object tracking, learning, ASL and human activity recognition. In medical image analysis, he works on segmentation, registration and classification methods for cardiac and cancer applications. In computer graphics he is working on physics-based special effects methods for animation. He has pioneered the use of Navier-Stokes methods for fluid animations that were used in the Movie “Antz” in 1998 by his student Nick Foster. Dr. Metaxas has published over 350 research articles in these areas and has graduated 27 PhD students. His research has been funded by NSF, NIH, ONR, DARPA, AFOSR and the ARO. He is on the Editorial Board of Medical Imaging, an Associate Editor of GMOD, and CAD. Dr. Metaxas received several best paper awards for his work on in the above areas. He is an ONR YIP and a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers. He has been a Program Chair of ICCV 2007, a General Chair of MICCAI 2008 and will be a General Chair of ICCV 2011.