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  • Good Enough Control of Robot Swarms

    Fri, Oct 13, 2023 @ 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Alfred E. Mann Department of Biomedical Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Cameron Nowzari, Assoc. Prof. Electrical and Computer Engineering, George Mason University

    Talk Title: Good Enough Control of Robot Swarms

    Abstract: Deploying massive swarms of robots to solve real-world problems has been a research promise for over 50 years, but even today we still do not see clear paths for how an engineer should design, deploy, and control one million robots simultaneously. This talk challenges the prevailing paradigm adopted by most engineers working on swarms. The key ideas rely on embracing bottom-up self-organization instead of more traditional top-down engineering design methods. We draw many connections to other fields of research beyond STEM and seek novel tools for approaching the robot swarm design problem.

    How do 100 billion neurons in the human brain connected by 100 trillion synapses create intelligence? How can a single CEO manage an organization with 100,000+ employees?
    How much influence does the President of the United States have over the 320+ million people in the country? How does a flock of birds make collective decisions without a leader? How exactly do the actions of the individual agents drive the manifestations of the collective? After showing how similar all these seemingly different examples really are and how pervasive self-organization and emergence are in everyday life, we discuss both the challenges and opportunities that come with predicting and controlling complex systems. Rather than thinking like an engineer, we consider how a chemist, biologist, psychologist, sociologist, or even industrial leader might approach our engineering problem.

    Biography: Dr. Cameron Nowzari is an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and director of the CREATE Lab at George Mason University. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in June 2009 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences in Sept 2013 from the University of California, San Diego. He spent three years as a postdoc in the Electrical and Systems Engineering Department at the University of Pennsylvania until joining Mason in 2016. He was with the Air Force Research Laboratory at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as a Summer Faculty Fellow in 2019, working with the Aerospace Systems directorate.

    Dr. Nowzari's research interests are highly transdisciplinary in the broad areas of controls, robotics, emergence, and autonomy. His work has applications in a wide number of areas including mobile sensors, autonomous robots, resource allocation, public health and epidemiology, network protection, and marketing campaigns. He has received multiple best paper awards from different venues and his work is currently supported by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research including a Young Investigator Program Award.

    Host: Gerald Leob

    Location: Corwin D. Denney Research Center (DRB) - 145

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Stephanie Perales


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