New Algorithm Helps Autonomous Vehicles Find Themselves, Summer or Winter
Without GPS, autonomous systems get lost easily. Now a new algorithm developed at Caltech allows autonomous systems to recognize where they are simply by looking at the terrain around them—and for the first time, the technology works regardless of seasonal changes to that terrain. The general process, known as visual terrain-relative navigation (VTRN), was first developed in the 1960s. By comparing nearby terrain to high-resolution satellite images, autonomous systems can locate themselves. The problem is that, in order for it to work, the current generation of VTRN requires that the terrain it is looking at closely matches the images in its database. To overcome this challenge, Anthony Fragoso, Lecturer in Aerospace; Staff Scientist, Connor Lee, Graduate student in Aerospace, Austin McCoy, Undergraduate, and Soon-Jo Chung, Bren Professor of Aerospace and Control and Dynamical Systems and research scientist at JPL, turned to deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to remove seasonal content that hinders current VTRN systems. [Caltech story]
Desbrun Elected to ACM SIGGRAPH Academy
Mathieu Desbrun, Carl F Braun Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, was selected as a 2021 awardee for the ACM SIGGRAPH Academy. Professor Desbrun was selected for contributions to geometric processing and establishing the discrete differential geometry framework. The ACM SIGGRAPH Academy is an honorary group of individuals who have made substantial contributions to the field of computer graphics. These are principal leaders of the field, whose efforts have shaped the disciplines and/or industry, and led the research and/or innovation in computer graphics and interactive techniques. [Past recipients]
Winners of the 2021 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced
The student winners of the 2021 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at the end of this academic year. David Brown, advised by Professor Viviana Gradinaru and Professor Matt Thomson has received the prize in Entrepreneurship. His research is in molecular and computational strategies for both understanding variability in the human immune system, and characterizing the on- and off-target profile of gene therapy delivery at the resolution of individual cells. Hsiao-Yi Chen, advised by Professor Marco Bernardi has received the prize in Nanotechnology. His research is in the development of ab initio methods to investigate exciton radiative emission and ultrafast dynamics. Tatyana Dobreva, advised by Professor Matt Thomson and Professor Viviana Gradinaru has received the prize in Entrepreneurship. Her research is in single-cell sequencing to interrogate the human immune system, characterize immune response to recombinant Adeno-Associated Viruses (AAVs), and engineer immune cells. Zachary Lee, advised by Professor Steven Low has received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources. His research involves developing a suite of tools and algorithms to enable smart electric vehicle charging at scale. Valère Lambert, advised by Professor Nadia Lapusta has received the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection. His research is in developing and using physics-based numerical models that combine laboratory insight and theoretical developments to simulate sequences of earthquake ruptures and slow slip that match field observations, thus illuminating physical properties of faults and building towards predictive modeling.
Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes
Winners of the 2021 New Horizons Award Announced
The student winners of the 2021 New Horizons Award were announced at the end of this academic year. Sara Beery was recognized for her passion, energy, and fearlessness to improve the CMS program by founding the Women in CMS group, organizing events and discussions on racism in academia, and advocating for the support structures that improve the educational experience for all CMS students. Abigail (Abby) Jiang was recognized for her commitment to enhance the campus environment through her leadership of the Caltech Asian Pacific Islander Desi American student association (APIDA+) and of PRISM, the Caltech LGBTQ+ association, and her advocacy for other campus diversity initiatives. Daniel Mukasa was recognized for his dedication and leadership of Black Scientists and Engineers of Caltech, which catalyzed campus engagement, reflection, and reform, and for his mentorship of undergraduates through the WAVE program. Alexander Choi, Leah Ginsburg, Marcus Lee and Victoria Lee, were recognized for their collective engagement and sustained dedication to improve the quality of life for MCE graduate students that culminated in the initiation of a seminar series, an option-wide climate survey, the appointment of a Diversity Liaison, the creation of a MCE community statement, and formation of www.deiinitiatives.caltech.edu, a campus-wide data base for DEI activities.
Alexander Wang Receives 2021 Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Computer science and economics student Alexander Wang, advised by Adam Blank, Teaching Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and by Antonio Rangel, Bing Professor of Neuroscience, Behavioral Biology and Economics, is one of four recipients of the 2021 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Alex is interested in mathematical and computational modeling and financial markets, as well as neuroscience and decision making. He has previously worked as a quantitative research intern at the quantitative hedge fund Cannon Global Investment Management and as a data science intern at the biotechnology startup Metagenomi. He has also conducted computational neuroscience research at Caltech, studying the pharmacokinetics of neuropharmaceutical drugs with Henry Lester, Bren Professor of Biology, Neuroscience, and Biological Engineering, and studying the mechanisms involved in adeno-associated viral (AAV) transduction with Viviana Gradinaru, Professor of Biology, Neuroscience, and Biological Engineering. This summer, he will be working at Susquehanna International Group as a quantitative trading intern. After graduation, he plans to pursue graduate school in neuroscience, with a focus on computational neuroscience. 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.
Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Ethan Mann Receives 2021 Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Computer science student Ethan Mann, advised by Adam Blank, Teaching Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, is one of four recipients of the 2021 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Ethan is interested in machine learning and systems programming, and he enjoys taking technical classes that blend theory and coding. Last year, he researched with Yaser Abu-Mostafa, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, to model the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic with artificial intelligence. He has also interned at the Big Memory startup MemVerge and researched efficient metasurface lens simulation with Sunil Golwala, Professor of Physics and Director of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, and Jack Sayers, Research Professor of Physics. This summer, Ethan will be interning at Facebook as a software engineer, and he looks forward to working in the technology industry after graduating. 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.
Henry Ford II Scholar Award