News & Events


Learning Directly From Data Rather Than Human-Provided Expertise


Alumnus Yong Sheng Soh (PhD ’18, ACM), advised by Professor Venkat Chandrasekaran, has won the 2018 INFORMS Optimization Society Student Prize for his paper entitled Learning Semidefinite-Representable Regularizers. Regularization-based algorithms are widely used in the solution of data-driven inverse problems arising in statistics, operations research, signal processing, and machine learning. These approaches typically require a great deal of prior domain-specific expertise about the structure of the underlying problem. Such expertise is especially challenging to obtain in the modern era of 'Big Data' in which our ability to sense all manner of phenomena and produce massive datasets far exceeds our ability to understand the underlying mechanisms governing the phenomena. In his award-winning work, which has been accepted for publication at the Journal of the Foundations of Computational Mathematics, Yong Sheng has developed a new framework for learning suitable regularization methods directly from data rather from human-provided expertise. [INFORMS Optimization Society Award] [Read the paper]

Tags: honors CMS alumni Venkat Chandrasekaran Yong Sheng Soh

Two International Aerospace Leaders Receive von Kármán Wings Award


This year's International von Kármán Wings Award honorees were Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the French Centre National d'Études Spatiales and A. S. Kiran Kumar, Vikram Sarabhai Professor and former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization and former secretary of the Indian Department of Space. The ceremony also featured the presentation of two scholarships to honor top graduate students in aerospace. "This event is absolutely unique," said Professor Ares Rosakis and chairman of the the Aerospace Historical Society. "What makes it so is that it reflects the phenomenal international connections between Caltech, GALCIT, JPL, and NASA and it also highlights the true international nature of aerospace. More importantly, it gives us the opportunity to take a glimpse at the future by also honoring our own students who will one day define the future of space science and the future of space technology." [Caltech story] [Student scholarship winners] [Program for 2018 award ceremony]

Tags: honors GALCIT Ares Rosakis Jean-Yves Le Gall A. S. Kiran Kumar

Caltech Startup Aims to Make Solar Panels More Efficient


Translational technology developed in Professor Harry A. Atwater’s laboratory seeks to improve the efficiency of solar panels by tweaking the architecture of the metal-grid layout of individual cells. The new startup company—ETC Solar, LLC—which is marketing the technology, took first place at the DOE's 2018 Cleantech University Prize national collegiate business plan competition in Houston. "To have been selected as a winner is a huge point of validation for the concept, both the innovation and also the impact," says Professor Atwater, who is also a co-founder of ETC Solar along with Thomas Russell, and Rebecca Saive. "It has helped us to make contacts with potential industrial partners and private equity investors," [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights Harry Atwater alumni Thomas Russell Rebecca Saive

Professors Barr and Schröder Elected to ACM SIGGRAPH Academy


Alan Barr, Professor of Computer Science, and Peter Schröder, Shaler Arthur Hanisch Professor of Computer Science and Applied and Computational Mathematics, have been elected to the first class of the ACM SIGGRAPH Academy. Professor Barr was selected for his contributions to graphics, primarily for extending computer graphics shape modeling to include physically based and teleological modeling. Professor Schröder was recognized for his pioneering work in geometry processing and multiresolution modeling. The ACM SIGGRAPH Academy is an honorary group of individuals who have made substantial contributions to the field of computer graphics and interactive techniques. 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. [Full list of academy members]

Tags: honors research highlights CMS Peter Schröder Alan Barr

Professor Colonius Receives AIAA Aeroacoustics Award


Tim Colonius, Frank and Ora Lee Marble Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has received the 2018 AIAA Aeroacoustics Award for his outstanding contributions  to theoretical and computational aeroacoustics for the prediction and control of noise and his absolute commitment to educating the next generation. [AIAA release]

Tags: honors MCE Tim Colonius

Professor Lapusta Receives GSC Mentoring Award


The Caltech Graduate Student Council (GSC) has selected Professor Nadia Lapusta as the recipient of the 2017-2018, GSC Mentoring Award. The GSC Teaching and Mentoring Awards recognize individuals “who have an extraordinary impact on Caltech graduate students through their roles as teachers and mentors.” Nominators described Professor Lapusta as being an excellent cheerleader who fosters her students' ties with the community. Despite leading a large group, she makes significant amounts of time for her students. One student said, "the path ahead always seems more optimistic after our meetings."

Tags: honors MCE Nadia Lapusta teaching

Professor Yue Receives Okawa Research Grant


Yisong Yue, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, is a recipient of a 2018 Okawa Foundation Research Grant for his research project entitled "A Unifying Framework for Data-Driven Formal Methods & Control ". This grant honors outstanding young researchers working in the fields of information and telecommunications. [Past Recipients]

Tags: honors CMS Okawa Foundation Yisong Yue

Alumna Wins Woman of the Year Award


CMS alumna, Ashley Williams, was named 2018 Woman of the Year by the Aerospace Corporation. Dr. Williams received her Caltech PhD in 2011 and was advised by Professors Jerry Marsden, Richard Murray, and Mathieu Desbrun. Currently she is the director of the Studies and Analyses Office at the Aerospace Corporation. [Dr. Williams’ Caltech thesis]

Tags: honors CMS Jerrold Marsden Mathieu Desbrun alumni Richard Murray Ashley Williams

Graduate Student Places 4th in National Soaring Competition


GALCIT Graduate student Michael Marshall, who is a member of Professor Sergio Pellegrino’s Space Structures Laboratory, has received the Rudolph W. Mozer Trophy from the Soaring Society of America (SSA) for being the highest ranking contestant under 26 years of age at any U.S. National Soaring contest. He also placed 4th in the U.S. National Soaring contest. Soaring involves flying without flapping wings or using engine power, or as described by the SSA “to fly as the hawk and eagle has been mankind's dream for centuries. Modern sailplanes make soaring flight possible, and with them humans can fly higher, faster, and farther than the greatest of birds, using only an invisible force of nature to stay aloft.” [SSA news]

Tags: honors GALCIT Sergio Pellegrino Michael Marshall

Terry Suh Receives 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Mechanical engineering student Hyung Ju (Terry) Suh, advised by Professor Joel Burdick, is a recipient of the 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He has broad interests in robotics including manipulation, perception, navigation, localization, and intelligence. 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.

Tags: honors MCE Henry Ford II Scholar Award Joel Burdick Hyung Ju (Terry) Suh