Robotics Panel Breakout Session

Monday, March 19
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

The session begins with an overview of NSF funding program in robotics. The three panelists will share their views on the current status and future directions of robotics research and education.



 Zhihua Qu
 Professor and Chair
 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
 University of Central Florida                                                                       

Zhihua Qu has been with University of Central Florida since 1990 and currently is the Pegasus Professor and Chair of ECE Department as well as  the SAIC Endowed Professor, College of Engineering and Computer Science. His areas of expertise are systems and nonlinear control, with applications to energy and power systems, autonomous vehicles and robotics. His most recent work focuses upon cooperative control and plug-and-play operation of networked and autonomous systems, distributed optimization and game algorithms, and resilient and intelligent networks. He received a service award from the ECEDHA.  He is a Fellow of both IEEE and AAAS.
 Organizer and Moderator:  
   Radhakisan "Kishan" Baheti
Program Director
 National Science Foundation

Kishan Baheti is a Program Director for EPCN Program in the ECCS Division at the National Science Foundation, which he joined in 1989 and where he has advanced several important initiatives. More recently, he has been involved in the initiatives of CPS, NRI, and the science of learning. His PhD training is in the area of control theory where he has made notable contributions at GE Corporate Research to the control of jet engines, computer-aided control design, vision-based robotics, and Kalman filtering. He has served as a member of the CSS Board of Governors and as Awards Chair for the American Automatic Control Council (AACC). He received the Distinguished Member Award from the IEEE CSS and the Outstanding Leadership and Service Award from the ECEDHA.  He is a Fellow of both IEEE and AAAS.

Abstract:  The goal of the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) is to support fundamental research that will accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside or collaboratively with people.  The NRI also supports innovative approaches to establish robotics in education curriculum. The presentation will include examples of funded projects by NSF.

   Magnus Egerstedt
 Professor and Chair
 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
 Georgia Tech.

Magnus Egerstedt is a Professor and the Julian T. Hightower Chair in Systems and Controls in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, where he serves as the Director for Georgia Tech's Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines. He conducts research in the areas of control theory and robotics, with particular focus on control and coordination of complex networks, such as multi-robot systems, mobile sensor networks, and cyber-physical systems. He is the recipient of the Ragazzini Award from the American Automatic Control Council.

Abstract: As the resources (time, money, personnel, equipment) needed to develop and maintain world-class robotics labs are significant, access to effective testbeds are oftentimes the bottleneck in robotics research. At Georgia Tech, we have addressed this by developing the Robotarium - a remotely accessible swarm-robotics testbed - where users can upload control code for coordinated behaviors for large teams of mixed ground-air autonomous vehicles. This talk will describe the Robotarium effort, including the scientific questions that have been addressed to deliver an effective, safe, and widely used research platform.

   Jessy Grizzle
 Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
 University of Michigan

Jessy Grizzle is the Jerry W and Carol L Levin Professor, Elmer G Gilbert Distinguished University Professor, Director of the Michigan Robotics Institute, and professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at Univ. of Michigan. His research covers the theory of nonlinear control systems, the control of bipedal robots and correct-by-construction control methods for Adavanced Driver Assist Systems, modeling and control of automotive powertrain systems and control of HEVs, and systems and control application to improve the operation of plasma-based microelectronics manufacturing equipment. He is a recipient of the Bode Prize from the IEEE Control Systems Society.

In summer 2011, a group of faculty in the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering came together in a grassroots effort to organize the robotics activity. They found fantastic support by the college's administration. The talk will discuss our organizing efforts, the graduate program we launched in 2014, and the new $75M building that will open in Dec. 2019 as the home of the Michigan Robotics Institute. The speaker will also spend a few minutes talking about his own work in bipedal robot locomotion. We're having a lot of fun at Michigan!

   Dan Koditschek
 Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering
 University of Pennsylvania

Dan Koditschek is the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at UPenn. Research of his team is focused on the application of dynamical systems theory to the design, construction and empirical testing of machines that juggle, run, climb, and in general, interact physically with their environment to perform useful work. Koditschek and his group seek to probe the foundations of autonomous robotics by reasoning formally about mathematical models that represent the successes and limitations of their physical platforms. He is the recipient of the 2016 IEEE RAS Pioneer Award.

Abstract:  I will briefly survey a range of activities and research directions in my lab that illustrate how EE/Systems-centric departments offer a natural home for Robotics. Our interest in applying dynamical systems theory to understanding and synthesizing embodied intelligence has led to collaborations with biologists, earth scientists, and corporate founders  - all fascinated by the prospects for thinking about, building and using robots from the vantage point of systems science.  


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