Myra Cheng Receives Goldwater Scholarship


Myra Cheng, an undergraduate student in computing and mathematical sciences, has been selected to receive a Goldwater Scholarship. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program awards scholarships to college sophomores or juniors who intend to pursue research careers in science, mathematics, and engineering. Myra works with Yisong Yue and Joel Burdick on optimization algorithms that can learn individual preferences based on real-time interaction with people. These algorithms can be used in wearable exoskeletons that help mobility-impaired individuals walk. "I'm interested in how machine learning interacts with humans and, more broadly, human society," she says. Cheng has also been working with Katie Bouman and Claire Ralph on developing algorithms that address questions of explainability and algorithms that affect social change. [Caltech story]

Tags: honors CMS Joel Burdick Yisong Yue Claire Ralph Katie Bouman Myra Cheng Goldwater Scholarship

IRCA Best Paper Awards


Two teams of Caltech researchers have won three International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) Best Paper Awards in multiple categories along with the overall best paper award. The ICRA is the largest and most prestigious robotics conference of the year. Awards are given on the basis of technical merit, originality, potential impact on the field, clarity of the written paper, and quality of the presentation. Maegan Tucker, Ellen Novoseller, Claudia Kann, Yanan Sui, Yisong YueJoel Burdick, and Aaron Ames, have won the ICRA Best Conference Paper Award and the ICRA Best Paper Award on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) for their paper entitled "Preference-Based Learning for Exoskeleton Gait Optimization." Amanda Bouman, Paul Nadan, Matthew Anderson, Daniel Pastor, Jacob Izraelevitz, Joel Burdick, and Brett Kennedy, have won the ICRA Best Paper Award on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for their paper entitled "Design and Autonomous Stabilization of a Ballistically Launched Multirotor." [Virtual Award Ceremony]

Tags: EE honors MCE CMS Joel Burdick Yisong Yue Aaron Ames Maegan Tucker Ellen Novoseller Claudia Kann Yanan Sui Amanda Bouman Paul Nadan Matthew Anderson Daniel Pastor Jacob Izraelevitz Brett Kennedy

A Promising Step in Returning Bipedal Mobility


Professors Aaron Ames and Joel Burdick have launched a new research initiative, RoAMS (Robotic Assisted Mobility Science), aimed at restoring natural and stable locomotion to individuals with walking deficiencies that result from spinal cord injuries and strokes. RoAMS unites robotic assistive devices—including exoskeletons and prostheses—with artificial intelligence (AI)-infused neurocontrol. "Bipedal walking is difficult to achieve in a stable fashion," says Professor Ames. "While crutches help users of the exoskeletons to stay upright, they undercut many of the health benefits that upright locomotion might otherwise provide. In addition, they do not allow users to do anything else with their hands while walking." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights MedE Yu-Chong Tai MCE CMS Joel Burdick Yisong Yue Aaron Ames

Meet the 2017 Amazon Fellows


Four graduate students from the Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) Department and one from the Electrical Engineering (EE) Department have been selected as 2017 Amazon Fellows. This fellows program is the result of a partnership between Caltech and Amazon AWS around Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The EE fellow is Srikanth Tenneti who is exploring the potential of deep learning for Direction of Arrival applications, and extending Ramanujan Sums based techniques for multi-dimensional periodicity extraction. CMS graduate student Navid Azizan Ruhi is researching faster optimization algorithms for machine learning.  He is looking forward to visiting Amazon AI as a fellow and exchanging ideas with their researchers. Computer science graduate student Hoang Le is developing methods for efficient and intelligent sequential decision making in realistic systems. Florian Schaefer, whose focus is applied and computational mathematics, is researching the interface of statistical estimation and the design of fast algorithms. Control and dynamical systems graduate student Ellen Feldman, working with Professor Joel Burdick, has used part of the funding to present her research at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting and looking forward to other future opportunities to share her research. 

Tags: EE honors CMS P. P. Vaidyanathan Babak Hassibi Joel Burdick Yisong Yue Navid Azizan Ruhi Hoang Le Ellen Feldman Florian Schaefer Srikanth Tenneti Houman Owhadi

Kun ho (John) Kim Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Computer science and mechanical engineering student Kun ho (John) Kim is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. John is working with Professors Burdick and Perona to develop novel machine learning methods for medical applications and crowd sourced data mining. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to the engineering student with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors MCE CMS Henry Ford II Scholar Award Pietro Perona Joel Burdick Kun ho (John) Kim

Crush, the RoboSub, Places in International Competition


The Caltech Robotics Team placed fourth in the 18th Annual International RoboSub Competition. The Competition is designed to introduce students to high-tech STEM fields such as maritime robotics. This year's team from Caltech was led by mechanical engineering recent graduate Justin Koch who was advised by Professor Joel Burdick. [Caltech story]

Tags: honors MCE CMS alumni Joel Burdick Justin Koch

Sink or Swim: Students Prticipate in RoboSub Competition


For the past year, a team of Caltech students, advised by Professor Joel Burdick, met at the campus pool on Sunday afternoons to prepare for the 17th Annual International RoboSub Competition. These members of the Caltech Robotics Team carefully crafted and optimized their robotic submarine named Bruce. Bruce was programmed to perform tasks such as pulling a lever, parking between two poles, and shooting little torpedoes at a target without the help of a human operator. At the competition the Caltech team received the judges' award for Best New Entry. [Caltech release]

Tags: MCE CMS Joel Burdick

TEDxCaltech: Advancing Humanoid Robots


Graduate student Matanya B. Horowitz, who works with Professors Joel Burdick and John Doyle, is one of the speakers at TEDxCaltech. He is active in several Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) challenges that seek to develop better control mechanisms for robotic arms, as well as develop humanoid robots that can do human-like tasks in dangerous situations, such as disable bombs or enter nuclear power plants during an emergency. [Caltech News]

Tags: MCE CMS John Doyle Joel Burdick Matanya Horowitz