News

Creature-Cataloging Contest for Computers

08-02-17

Caltech and Cornell teamed up to create the iNaturalist Challenge, a competition to create the best machine-learning algorithm for identifying the world's plant and animal species. The contest was an outgrowth of the institutions' previous work together on Visipedia, a visual encyclopedia created by a network of people and machine-learning computers that harvest image information off the internet. The technology was developed for the encyclopedia by Pietro Perona's Vision Group at Caltech and Serge Belongie's Computer Vision Group at Cornell Tech. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Pietro Perona

Designing Computer Software of the Future

07-25-17

Fernando Brandao, Bren Professor of Theoretical Physics, and colleagues are developing quantum algorithms for optimization problems. "We are still far from knowing all the applications of quantum computing, and that's part of the excitement—there are possibilities we haven't even dreamed of yet,” says Professor Brandao. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights CMS Fernando Brandão

Neural Networks Model Audience Reactions to Movies

07-21-17

Yisong Yue, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and colleagues have created a new deep-learning software capable of assessing complex audience reactions to movies using the viewer's facial expressions. "Understanding human behavior is fundamental to developing AI [artificial intelligence] systems that exhibit greater behavioral and social intelligence. For example, developing AI systems to assist in monitoring and caring for the elderly relies on being able to pick up cues from their body language. After all, people don't always explicitly say that they are unhappy or have some problem," Professor Yue says. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights CMS Yisong Yue

One Step at a Time: A Conversation with Professor Ames

05-05-17

Aaron Ames, Bren Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, handbuilds bipedal robots and designs the algorithms that govern how they walk. These algorithms couple efficiency equations with boundary constraints to teach robots to generate their own walking gait. [Interview with Professor Ames]

Tags: research highlights MCE CMS Aaron Ames

Computing with Biochemical Circuits Made Easy

02-23-17

Lulu Qian, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, is working to create circuits using not the usual silicon transistors but strands of DNA. "A DNA circuit could add 'smarts' to chemicals, medicines, or materials by making their functions responsive to the changes in their environments," Qian says. "Importantly, these adaptive functions can be programmed by humans." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights CMS Lulu Qian

A Conversation with Lior Pachter

02-17-17

Lior S. Pachter, Bren Professor of Computational Biology, applies computational methods to biology problems. He has interests in both the development of computational methods and in answering specific biology questions, primarily related to the function of RNA, a molecule central to the function of cells. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights CMS Lior Pachter

Robot Drone That Mimics Bat Flight

02-01-17

Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, and colleagues have recreated the key flight mechanisms of bats with unprecedented fidelity in the Bat Bot—a self-contained robotic bat with soft, articulated wings. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT CMS Soon-Jo Chung

Taking Flight: Professor Soon-Jo Chung

01-27-17

Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, has wide research interests ranging from the creation of a robotic bat with flexible wings and realistic flight dynamics to the control of swarms of small satellites to the development of computer-vision-based navigation systems. [Interview with Professor Soon-Jo Chung]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT CMS Soon-Jo Chung

A Birder in the Hand: Mobile Phone App Can Recognize Birds From Photos

12-14-16

Pietro Perona, Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have developed the Merlin Bird Photo ID mobile app which uses machine-learning technology to identify hundreds of North American bird species it "sees" in photos. "This app is the culmination of seven years of our students' hard work and is propelled by the tremendous progress that computer-vision and machine-learning scientists are making around the world," says Professor Perona. "A machine that recognizes objects in images, like humans do, was a distant dream when I was a graduate student and now it's finally happening." [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Pietro Perona

GPS Innovator Charles Trimble Receives von Kármán Wings Award

11-18-16

Caltech senior trustee Charles Trimble (BS '63, MS '64), founder and former chief executive officer of Trimble Navigation, Ltd., is the 2016 recipient of the International von Kármán Wings Award. He was recognized for his visionary leadership contributions to the aerospace industry, and distinguished service to the nation's defense and aerospace programs. "In addition to his pioneering contributions to GPS commercialization, Charlie has had a big impact on Caltech and JPL," Professor Gharib stated. "As an alumnus and trustee, he deeply understands the needs of Caltech and serves the community with dedication and insight." [Caltech story]

Tags: honors GALCIT CMS ESE Morteza Gharib Charles Trimble