Caltech and Disney Engineers Collaborate on Robotics


Caltech and Disney Research have entered into a joint research agreement to pioneer robotic control systems and further explore artificial intelligence technologies. Pietro Perona will work with Disney roboticist Martin Buehler to create navigation and perception software that could allow robotic characters to safely move through dense crowds and interact with people. Aaron Ames will work with Disney Research's Lanny Smoot to further explore robot autonomy and machine learning by creating objects that can self-navigate and perform stunts. Yisong Yue has been working with engineers from Disney Research on the use of machine learning to analyze the behavior of soccer players and to measure audience engagement. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights MCE CMS Pietro Perona Yisong Yue Aaron Ames

Life in Transition


As she steps down as CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, Telle Whitney (PhD ’85) reflects on her career in tech—and the path ahead for the next generation of women. From Caltech to researcher to entrepreneur to advocate for women in technology, this Caltech alumna’s career has thrived on risk-taking and transition—and she’s inspired and assisted hundreds of thousands of women along the way. [Techer profile]

Tags: EE CMS alumni Telle E. Whitney

Award For Technical Clarity and Ease of Understanding


Animashree (Anima) Anandkumar, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and colleagues have won a Best Poster Award at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) MLtrain workshop. The submission was called “Tensor Regression Networks with TensorLy and MXNet” and the work showed that tensor contractions and regression layers are an effective replacement for fully connected layers in deep learning architectures. The MLtrain workshop focuses on making research more accessible through ipython notebooks and the submissions are judged based on the technical clarity and ease of understanding of the poster and the code. [View the poster]

Tags: honors CMS Animashree Anandkumar

Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award


Caltech senior Ching-Yun “Chloe” Hsu has won a 2018 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award from the Computing Research Association (CRA). Her research interests are in theoretical computer science and the intersection of computer science and mathematics.  She learned about the “3SUM Conjecture” when she took a course in computational complexity theory in her freshman year and her subsequent research on that problem has led to important new results that were published in the 42ndInternational Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science in 2017.  In addition, results of her research on the Discrete Fourier Transform were published in the Symposium on Discrete Algorithms in 2018.  She has served as teaching assistant for numerous courses and as an English to Chinese translator for Scientific American. [CRA bulletin]

Caltech senior Jacob (Jalex) Stark received an honorable mention form the CRA awards selection committee.

Tags: honors CMS Ching-Yun (Chloe) Hsu Jacob Stark

Best Poster Award At Neural Information Processing Systems Conference


CMS postdoctoral scholar Qi (Rose) Yu, working with Professor Anandkumar, and graduate student Stephan Zheng, working with Professor Yue, have won the Best Poster Presentation Award at the 2017 Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) Time Series Workshop. Dr. Yu works on the challenge of long-term forecasting in environments with nonlinear dynamics such as those involving climate and traffic data. She is tackling this challenge uses Tensor-Train RNN which are a novel family of neural sequence models that learn nonlinear dynamics directly using higher order moments and high-order state transition functions. [View her poster]

Tags: honors CMS Yisong Yue Animashree Anandkumar postdocs Qi (Rose) Yu Stephan Tao Zheng

AWS and Caltech Partner to Accelerate AI and Machine Learning


From autonomous robotics to state of-the-art computer vision, Caltech and Amazon have a lot in common, including the belief that pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will not only disrupt industries, but it will fundamentally change the nature of scientific research. As part of this two-year renewable research collaboration, Amazon will provide both financial support, in the form of funding for graduate fellowships, and computing resources, in the form of AWS Cloud credits, to accelerate the work of faculty and students at Caltech in these areas. [AWS AI Blog]

Tags: CMS Adam Wierman Pietro Perona Joel Tropp Yisong Yue Aaron Ames Animashree Anandkumar

Joel (J.N.) Franklin Passes Away


Joel (J.N.) Franklin, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on November 18, 2017 at the age of 87. Professor Franklin joined Caltech in 1957 and worked closely with Gilbert McCann, professor of applied science, who was one of the early champions of computing at Caltech (and inventor of an analog computer in 1946). Professor Dan Meiron recalls, "Joel excelled as a scholar and researcher … if any of us in applied math—and the Institute in general—had any questions about matrix theory, linear programming, etc. we could consult with Joel and he always pointed us to the relevant results often connected to work he had done in the past." [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT EAS history CMS Dan Meiron Joel (J.N.) Franklin

Engineers Model the California Reservoir Network


Professor Venkat Chandrasekaran and graduate student Armeen Taeb have developed an empirical statewide model of the California reservoir network. This work offers reservoir managers insight on how to plan and respond to drought conditions. "The bread and butter of hydrology is using physical laws to describe water phenomena. But the behavior of these reservoirs is not solely determined by physical laws of the water cycle, but also by demands and what these reservoirs are being used for," Taeb explains. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Venkat Chandrasekaran Armeen Taeb

Best Paper At IEEE Undergraduate Conference


Undergraduate students Peter Kundzicz, Suraj Nair, and Anshul Ramachandran, have won the the Best Paper Presentation Award at the 2017 IEEE MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference. Their paper won out of 60 invited papers from across the United States. The paper entitled "Annotated Reconstruction of 3D Spaces via Drones" was inspired by work they did in a Caltech computational vision course (EE/CNS/CS 148) and a robotics course (ME/CS133). [Read the paper]

Tags: honors CMS Peter Kundzicz Suraj Nair Anshul Ramachandran

Professor Desbrun Interviews Pixar President and Pixar Animation Senior Scientist


Listen to Professor Mathieu Desbrun’s conversation about the history and future of computer graphics research with Ed Catmull (co-founder, Pixar Animation Studios; president, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios) and Tony DeRose (senior scientist, Pixar Animation Studios). [SIGGRAPH Spotlight: Episode 6]

Tags: research highlights CMS Mathieu Desbrun