Caltech Announces the Schmidt Academy for Software Engineering


Caltech has launched the Schmidt Academy for Software Engineering to train the next generation of science-savvy software engineers and set new standards in scientific software. "This is a recognition that computing, software, and machine learning are going to play a very big role in science. Because Caltech is small and collaborative, we have the opportunity to really make a push in that direction," says Kaushik Bhattacharya, the Howell N. Tyson, Sr., Professor of Mechanics and Materials Science and vice provost. [Caltech release]

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Katie Bouman Named Recipient of the 2020 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics


Katie Bouman, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences and Rosenberg Scholar, has been named a recipient of the 2020 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics as part of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team that generated the first-ever image of a black hole. [Caltech story] [Breakthrough Prize Announcement]

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PowerFlex’s Patented Technology Incubated out of Steven Low’s NetLab


EDF Renewables North America has acquired PowerFlex Systems, a pioneer in managed electric vehicle (EV) charging technology. PowerFlex’s patented technology was incubated out of Steven Low’s NetLab research laboratory. PowerFlex and EDF Renewables agree on the vision of large-scale EV adoption that will achieve meaningful reductions of carbon emissions in the transportation sector. [Read full article]

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A Promising Step in Returning Bipedal Mobility


Professors Aaron Ames and Joel Burdick have launched a new research initiative, RoAM (Robotic Assisted Mobility), aimed at restoring natural and stable locomotion to individuals with walking deficiencies that result from spinal cord injuries and strokes. RoAm 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]

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Professor Owhadi Receives 2019 Dahlquist Prize From SIAM


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]

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Solar Flares, Bubble Rings, and Ink Chandeliers


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]

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Konstantin Zuev Receives Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching


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."

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Biological Circuits: A Beginner’s Guide


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]

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Thomas Vidick is a Recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award


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]

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Can AI Be Fair?


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]

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