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]
Houman Owhadi, Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Control and Dynamical Systems, has received the Germund Dahlquist Prize from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). The prize is awarded every two years to one individual for original contributions to numerical solution of differential equations and numerical methods for scientific computing. [List of Past Recipients]
Peter Schroeder, Shaler Arthur Hanisch Professor of Computer Science and Applied and Computational Mathematics, and colleagues have generated a computer simulation of underwater bubble rings that is so realistic it is virtually indistinguishable from a video of the real thing. "What drives me is finding these beautiful descriptions of something that looks terribly complicated but can be reduced to a few mathematical key concepts. Then the rest just follows from there. There's beauty in seeing that a very simple principle all of a sudden gives rise to the complex appearance we perceive," Professor Schröder says. [Caltech story]
Konstantin Zuev, Lecturer in Computing and Mathematical Sciences, is the recipient of the 2019 Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The Prize is awarded to an EAS professor or lecturer who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching. A nomination for Konstantin Zuev read, "It is not just his major contributions in terms of teaching classes and designing new ones that set him apart and make him an ideal candidate for the Northrup Grumman teaching award. It is his rapport with the students, and the passionate love they show for his teaching and his classes."
A team of researchers including Noah Olsman (PhD ’19), John Doyle, Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering, and Richard Murray, Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering, has developed a set of guidelines for designing biological circuits using tools from mechanical and electrical engineering. Like electric circuits—but made out of cells and living matter—biological circuits show promise in producing pharmaceuticals and biofuels. [Caltech story]
Thomas Vidick, Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. [White House Release] [Caltech Release]
Experts from across the country in computer science, philosophy, law, and other fields gathered at a Caltech workshop to examine a question: Can artificial intelligences, or machine-learning algorithms, be fair? Computer scientists talked about addressing various issues using specific types of machine-learning techniques. For example, if you are training an algorithm on data that has preexisting biases, then those biases will be reflected in the algorithm's results. Machine-learning programs typically learn from so-called training data and then, from the data, come up with a model that makes predictions about the future. The goal is to attempt to remove any possible racial or other bias from the models. One of the activities in the workshop involved looking through studies investigating the fairness of machine-learning programs, or algorithms, used for making predictions in college admissions, employment, bank lending, and criminal justice. The participants of the workshop said they thought the cross-disciplinary nature of the workshop was tremendously useful. [Caltech story]
Katie Bouman, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, creates images from nonideal sensor data and mines for information from images using techniques that can be applied to everything from medical imaging to studying the universe. She likes to search for information hidden in images, imperceptible to humans, that she can use to learn about the environment around us. [Profile of new EAS faculty member Professor Bouman]
Computing and mathematical sciences student James R. McLaughlin, advised by Professor Peter Schroeder, is a recipient of the 2019 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. James has a strong interest in cyber security, machine learning, and augmented reality. He will be working as a software engineer for Citadel (a global hedge fund) during the summer of 2019. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.
Through TechReach, a new student club, Caltech undergrads aim to use tech skills to address social problems. Among people who are homeless, lack of connection to family and friends poses an often-overlooked obstacle to stability and well-being. Nivetha Karthikeyan, Myra Cheng, and Andrew Hess address the problem by developing new technological tools for Miracle Messages, a nonprofit that helps reunite homeless people with friends and relatives. Miracle Messages helps homeless individuals record video or audio messages to loved ones they have lost all contact with, and then volunteers scour social media and other digital platforms to find those loved ones and deliver the message. They hope to expand TechReach to five or six new projects involving larger numbers of computer science volunteers and a broader range of issues.
A day-long event focused on providing startups and companies with a chance for meaningful interactions with undergraduate and graduate students, providing students with an opportunity to find out more about the breadth of applications for computing and mathematical sciences across industries.
Carver Mead New Adventures Fund
The afternoon featured technical talks from Carver Mead New Adventures Fund recipients, alumni, and Carver Mead himself! Since 2014, this Fund has championed exceptional projects in their earliest stage of development – too early to attract industry or government support. This characteristic embodies Carver’s approaches and practices, with a continued goal to expand Carver’s daring approach to research and innovation throughout the Caltech campus. We highlighted some of the adventurous research that has been explored by grants made possible by this initiative with you.
IST Meeting of the Minds
A day-long research conference featuring talks, laboratory open houses, and poster presentations by distinguished faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and researchers from JPL showcasing the latest and most exciting work that is underway in CMS.