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News from IRIM | May 5th, 2021 Edition
Research News

Simple Robots, Smart Algorithms: Meet the BOBbots

A collection of "BOBbots" in motion (Credit: Shengkai Li, Georgia Tech)Anyone with children knows that while controlling one child can be hard, controlling many at once can be nearly impossible. Getting swarms of robots to work collectively can be equally challenging, unless researchers carefully choreograph their interactions -- like planes in formation -- using increasingly sophisticated components and algorithms. But what can be reliably accomplished when the robots on hand are simple, inconsistent, and lack sophisticated programming for coordinated behavior?

A team of researchers led by Dana Randall, ADVANCE Professor of Computing and Daniel Goldman, Dunn Family Professor of Physics, both at Georgia Institute of Technology, sought to show that even the simplest of robots can still accomplish tasks well beyond the capabilities of one, or even a few, of them. The goal of accomplishing these tasks with what the team dubbed "dumb robots" (essentially mobile granular particles) exceeded their expectations, and the researchers report being able to remove all sensors, communication, memory and computation -- and instead accomplishing a set of tasks through leveraging the robots' physical characteristics, a trait that the team terms "task embodiment."

The team's BOBbots, or "behaving, organizing, buzzing bots" that were named for granular physics pioneer Bob Behringer, are "about as dumb as they get," explains Randall. "Their cylindrical chassis have vibrating brushes underneath and loose magnets on their periphery, causing them to spend more time at locations with more neighbors." The experimental platform was supplemented by precise computer simulations led by Georgia Tech physics student Shengkai Li, as a way to study aspects of the system inconvenient to study in the lab.
Watch: BOBbots in Action

Inspired by a theoretical model of particles moving around on a chessboard, new robot swarm research led by Georgia Tech shows that, as magnetic interactions increase, dispersed “dumb robots” can abruptly gather in large, compact clusters to accomplish complex tasks. Researchers report that these “BOBbots” (behaving, organizing, buzzing bots) are also capable of collectively clearing debris that is too heavy for one alone to move, thanks to a robust algorithm.
 Georgia Tech + Google Robotics Workshop  
May 7th (Friday), 2021 | 8 AM PT (11 AM EDT) to 2 PM PT (5 PM EDT)
Georgia Tech and Google have made tremendous strides in robotics and machine intelligence research over the past few years. We are planning to organize a 1-day workshop between two groups to share research progress, exchange ideas, and spark future collaboration. The main agenda includes nine 20-minute research talks, 4 from Googlers and 5 from Georgia Tech professors, followed by a discussion on collaboration opportunities.

Speaker Grid

Please Do NOT circulate this event link! This is an internal event between Georgia Tech and Google.
Organized by: Jie Tan @ Google, Sehoon Ha @ Georgia Tech, Carolina Parada @ Google, Irfan Essa @ Georgia
 Tech, and Negar Saei @ Google.
IRIM Faculty Lab Highlight
PR2 mobile manipulator

Visual Intelligence Lab

Devi Parikh | Associate Professor; School of Interactive Computing
The team at the Visual Intelligence Lab conducts research in the areas of computer vision and AI in general and visual recognition problems in particular. Their recent work involves exploring problems at the intersection of vision and language, and leveraging human-machine collaboration for building smarter machines. They have also explored other topics such as ensemble of classifiers, data fusion, inference in probabilistic models, 3D reassembly, barcode segmentation, computational photography, interactive computer vision, contextual reasoning, hierarchical representations of images, and human-debugging.   

Professor Parikh has wonderful research, career development and art/science intersection media available on her website. We encourage you to check out some of the amazing work from inside & outside of the lab.

Podcast | Humans of AI: Stories, Not Stats! Devin Parikh interviews AI researchers to get to know them better as people.

Stats for Grads | AI Paygrades! Statistics of industry job offers in AI. The goal is to reduce information asymmetry so candidates can make informed decisions.

Sci - Art | Art Gallery of data and mathematically based artwork and access to platforms to create your own

Learn more about the lab here
"Explorations in AI for Creativity"
Devi Parikh | Associate Professor; School of Interactive Computing
University Affiliate Event
 Virtual Seminar Series on the Intersection of Control &  Learning
Wednesdays 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. (Pacific Time)
Patricio Antonio Vela

April 28, 2021

Patricio Antonio Vela
Georgia Tech

To access the viewing information, please visit the series site here.
EVPR COVID News & Guidance

Reminder: Lab Personnel Density Guidance
Georgia Tech is piloting a revised guideline to accommodate laboratories with lower personnel numbers and sufficient excess space in their laboratory. Read the revised guideline.

Weekly Testing Locations
If you live or work on campus, we strongly encourage you to get tested weekly, even if you aren’t experiencing Covid-19 symptoms. This is an essential part of protecting yourself and the Georgia Tech community. There are several options for getting tested, both on and off campus. See the current schedules and locations at this link.

Vaccine Roll-Out
The Institute has been working diligently with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to develop a vaccine rollout plan for the entire campus community. This plan consists of consecutive phases with corresponding groups. See the vaccine plane here.

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