From autonomous robotics to state of-the-art computer vision, Caltech and Amazon have a lot in common, including the belief that pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will not only disrupt industries, but it will fundamentally change the nature of scientific research. As part of this two-year renewable research collaboration, Amazon will provide both financial support, in the form of funding for graduate fellowships, and computing resources, in the form of AWS Cloud credits, to accelerate the work of faculty and students at Caltech in these areas. [AWS AI Blog]
Joel (J.N.) Franklin, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on November 18, 2017 at the age of 87. Professor Franklin joined Caltech in 1957 and worked closely with Gilbert McCann, professor of applied science, who was one of the early champions of computing at Caltech (and inventor of an analog computer in 1946). Professor Dan Meiron recalls, "Joel excelled as a scholar and researcher … if any of us in applied math—and the Institute in general—had any questions about matrix theory, linear programming, etc. we could consult with Joel and he always pointed us to the relevant results often connected to work he had done in the past." [Caltech story]
Professor Venkat Chandrasekaran and graduate student Armeen Taeb have developed an empirical statewide model of the California reservoir network. This work offers reservoir managers insight on how to plan and respond to drought conditions. "The bread and butter of hydrology is using physical laws to describe water phenomena. But the behavior of these reservoirs is not solely determined by physical laws of the water cycle, but also by demands and what these reservoirs are being used for," Taeb explains. [Caltech story]
Listen to Professor Mathieu Desbrun’s conversation about the history and future of computer graphics research with Ed Catmull (co-founder, Pixar Animation Studios; president, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios) and Tony DeRose (senior scientist, Pixar Animation Studios). [SIGGRAPH Spotlight: Episode 6]
Caltech's Hixon Writing Center team has expanded to include two STEM writing specialists, Christina Birch who has a PhD in biological engineering from MIT and Erin Burkett who has a PhD in geophysics from UC Davis. Hixon director Susanne Hall describes, “now a student in any scientific discipline can come into the writing center and get help on their academic writing from a tutor with firsthand experience of the styles and genres of scientific communication." The center has also begun a partnership with the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) to bring STEM writing instruction directly into classrooms. "Communication is of fundamental importance for students today, but it's hard to learn in isolation," Professor Adam Wierman says. "Being able to partner with Hixon to embed writing and communication into my course allowed us to teach students at the moment they needed it.” [Caltech story] [ENGenious snap shot on new EAS course E111]
Animashree (Anima) Anandkumar, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, develops efficient techniques to speed up optimization algorithms that underpin machine-learning systems. Speaking about the connections between industry and academia she explains,“bridging the gap between industry and academia is really important. It is a big part of what brought me to Caltech. The sooner we can take theory and deploy it practically, the faster innovation moves and the more impact it can have.” [Interview with Professor Anandkumar]
Take a deep dive into a crucial moment in technological history with Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus. In this first of a series of videos being produced by the Caltech Archives, titled 'My First Chip’, Professor Mead tells the story of meeting Gordon Moore, who would soon predict that every year the semiconductor industry would double the number of transistors that could be fabricated on a commercial integrated circuit. Carver Mead and his students worked on the physics of ultra-small transistors, and showed that, in addition to allowing greater density, they ran faster and used less power. This work proved that Moore’s prediction did not violate any laws of physics, and it became known as 'Moore's Law'–the term coined and made famous by Professor Mead.
The Bat Bot, a self-contained robotic bat with soft, articulated wings, created by Professor Soon-Jo Chung and his colleagues has been selected by the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg to be placed in a special exhibit entitled Animals: Respect / Harmony / Subjugation. Professor Chung’s robotic bat will be on special display along with the work of virtuosos like Albrecht Dürer till March 4, 2018.
This year’s CMS Techfest was attended by five hundred members of the Caltech Community and brought together more than thirty companies and nonprofits developing the latest technologies related to the computing and mathematical sciences. Two thirds of the companies attending were from the local area, eight have Caltech alumni co-founders, CEOs, or CTOs. The main goals of the event were to expose students to the latest technologies and a wide range of career options, building and supporting the CMS alumni network, and supporting the local start-up ecosystem. This year’s Techfest involved a demo fair focused on providing startups, companies, students, postdocs, and faculty with a chance for meaningful interactions with each other. The Partners Program company members including as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Northrop Grumman showed off cutting-edge research, and brand new technologies. Students learned about the breadth of applications for CMS across industries and networked with company representatives.