2016 RSS Workshop


NASA Swarmathon Workshop
within the 2016 Robotics and Science Systems Conference
Saturday, June 18th, 2016
at: University of Michigan – North Quad Ehrlicher Room

The google map below can provide directions.
In addition, you can download directions here for how to find the room once on campus.


Photos from the Swarmathon Workshop




7:30- 8:30             Light Breakfast Served at Rackham Lobby (different location)
Note: Rackman lobby is located at 915 E Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI
For directions visit: http://www.roboticsconference.org/venue.html

8:30 – 9:15            Introduction & Welcome
Dr. Melanie Moses (UNM), Theresa Martinez (NASA MUREP) and Kurt Leucht (NASA KSC Swampworks)

9:15 – 10:00         Morning Keynote and Discussion
Prof. Briana Wellman (University of the District of Columbia)

10:00 – 10:30        Coffee Break    

10:30 – 12:30       ROS/Gazeebo Swarmathon tutorial
Dr. Joshua Hecker & Matthew Fricke (UNM)

12:30 – 2:00         Lunch and Panel Discussion
Dr. Radhika Nagpal (Harvard)
Dr. Giovanni Beltrame (École Polytechnique de Montréal)
Dr. Aleksandra Faust (Google X)
Dr. Aaron Becker (Swarmathon Team Member, University of Houston)
Dr. Lydia Tapia (University of New Mexico)

2:00 – 2:30            Buzz Tutorial
Dr. Carlo Pinciroli (École Polytechnique de Montréal)

2:30 – 3:30            Student Lightning Talks  |  Student Presenters

2:30 – 2:45 Ryan Fisher (Fayetteville State University)
Topic: Overcoming Rover Localization Inconsistencies and Optimization of Search Area Coverage

2:45 – 3:00 Jeff Schlindwein (Central New Mexico Community College)
Topic: Localization and Algorithm Development

3:00 – 3:15 David Wu (Pasadena City College)
Topic: Bucket Test

3:15 – 3:30 Elizabeth Esterly (University of New Mexico)
Topic: Outreach in Netlogo

3:30 –  4:00           Coffee Break (and poster viewing)         

3:30  – 5:30           Student Poster Session Student Presenters TBD

Posters should be a maximum of 40″ high by 60″ wide.

For tips and suggestions on putting together a good research poster, please consult these example links: http://guides.nyu.edu/posters and http://betterposters.blogspot.com/.

For poster templates, please see the following links for PowerPoint and LaTeX-based posters, respectively: http://www.makesigns.com/SciPosters_Templates.aspx and http://www.brian-amberg.de/uni/poster/.



Dr. Melanie Mosesmelanie3
Professor Melanie Moses earned a B.S. from Stanford University in Symbolic Systems, an interdisciplinary program in cognition and computation, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of New Mexico in 2005. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of New Mexico and External Faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. Her interdisciplinary research exists at the boundaries of Computer Science and Biology with over 50 peer reviewed publications in computational and mathematical biology and biologically-inspired swarm robotics. Research in the Moses Lab focuses on computational modeling of complex biological systems, particularly on cooperative search strategies in immune systems and ant colonies. Her research also applies principles from biology to design computational systems, particularly robotic swarms that replicate ant behaviors to perform collective tasks. Her research lab includes 14 includes post docs, undergraduate and graduate students and high school interns from Computer Science and Biology. Professor Moses was the co-director of the NIH funded UNM Program in Interdisciplinary Biological and Biomedical Sciences 2013 – 2015, and directs the CSforAll course, an introductory programming course in computer modeling and simulation in which 400 New Mexico high school students have been introduced to computer science and earned dual credit at UNM. Professor Moses is the Principal Investigator for the NASA Swarmathon, a swarm robotics competition that aims to engage 1000 students from Minority Serving Institutions to develop new swarm robotic algorithms to revolutionize space exploration. She is honored to have been a Ford Foundation Dissertation Diversity Fellow and a Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship Finalist, and to have received the UNM Outstanding New Teacher of the Year Award and the School of Engineering New Faculty Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Research.


josh3Dr. Joshua Hecker
Professor Hecker is a Computer Science postdoctoral researcher at UNM. He studies the interactions and interdependencies between the behaviors of biologically-inspired robot swarms and the environments in which they are located. His research focuses on developing robust search algorithms, scalable agent-based models, and efficient physical robots that operate autonomously in real-world environments. As Technical Lead for the NASA Swarmathon, an innovative national robotics competition, he oversees a highly-motivated team of computer scientists and engineers that are tasked with designing, building, and programming 60 ground robots to be distributed, free of charge, to minority-serving institutions around the country. He also mentors high school and undergraduate students through SFI’s Project GUTS, UNM’s NSF STEP and Open House events, and the RoboRAVE and VEX robotics competitions.


matthew3Mr. Matthew Fricke
Matthew Fricke is a PhD student in Computer Science at UNM. He studies the mathematics of random search patterns with applications to swarm robotics, ant colonies, and immunological systems. His work has been published in a book chapter of the Handbook of Human Computation, the journals Bioinformatics, BioPhysical Chemistry, and PLoS ONE, and ECAL and GECCO conferences. Random search is ubiquitous in biological systems and is an effective strategy for robotic search where error and uncertainly dominate. Matthew’s work examines seemingly disparate random search systems that actually have much in common.


brianna3Dr. Briana Lowe Wellman
Dr. Brianna Lowe is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT) at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). She is an educator and researcher of computing and robotics. Dr. Wellman is a mentor of a very diverse group of students and her overarching goal is to broaden the participation of traditionally underrepresented students in STEM areas.

Dr. Wellman received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (2011). Her doctoral thesis focused on cooperation and communication paradigms for multirobot systems. She is a Co-Director of the UDC’s Robotics Lab and a faculty advisor for UDC’s Robotics Club. Dr. Wellman’s research interests include Multirobot Systems, Autonomous Systems, and Artificial Intelligence. The grand challenge of her research is to provide robot teams the ability to learn, respond, and adapt to changes by modifying their behavior in an autonomous manner. Her research is highlighted in numerous international conference and journal proceedings.

As an educator, Dr. Wellman is inspired by Marian Wright Edelman’s quotation, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”  She applies those beliefs in her role as a educator, mentor, and as a Co-PI for the National Science Foundation Noyce Grant funded project, Firebirds Reinventing STEM Teaching (Project FRST). Project FRST is the first interdisciplinary STEM teacher education initiative at UDC to place teachers who are underrepresented in sciences into high-needs, urban schools in the District of Columbia.

Dr. Wellman is also UDC’s Director for the NASA DC Space Grant Consortium which allows students to participate in research activities mentored by STEM faculty. She is also the faculty advisory for the ACM Computer Club at UDC. Last, but certainly not least, Dr. Wellman is a wife and mother of two daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, reading electronic magazines, watching suspense TV shows and SCI-FI movies. She also writes code in her spare time.


Kurt-Leucht3Mr. Kurt Leucht
Kurt Leucht serves as a Software Development Team Lead at NASA KSC Swamp Works.  In this role he works on and leads multiple software development teams in the command and control area of KSC. His projects include: monitoring and control of regolith mining robots; monitoring and control and software algorithm research using small mobile robots inspired by ants; robotic sensor research & testing, especially in dusty environments; and sharing launch data with the general public.


TheresaMartinezMs. Theresa Martinez
Theresa Martinez has served as a Project Manager at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Education Office since September, 2005.  She started her career at KSC as a cooperative education student in 1988, and transitioned to a full time employee in 1991.  Her background as an electrical engineer working with flight hardware brings a unique perspective to the education office.  As a payload engineer, she worked with the Spacelab program, which delivered a shirt sleeve environment laboratory flown in the payload bay of the Shuttle.  She worked with various international partners, validating compatibility of the flight hardware interfaces to the Shuttle interfaces, thereby helping ensure a successful science mission.  As a lead in that division, she coordinated the efforts of various payload engineers all working on one mission, to deliver a fully tested payload on schedule for shuttle integration.

When that program ended, she worked with the logistics carrier module bringing supplies to the International Space Station, as a Command and Data Handling Systems Engineer.  In her time in the education office, she has worked as a project manager on various activities, including project management of software development for three different e-education projects, an active role as co-project manager for the management of the Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) internship and scholarship program, and project manager for the Minority University Research and Education Programs (MUREP) Small Programs (MSP) Project.  She is currently the MUREP STEM Engagement Manager, managing the Swarmathon university student competition.  This competition, funded specifically for Minority Serving Institution (MSI) participation, is administered by the University of New Mexico.  This unique competition has generated significant MSI engagement with NASA, through the ability to allow MSI team participation at no cost to the team.  Ms. Martinez is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) through the globally recognized Project Management Institute.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of Central Florida.


carloDr. Carlo Pinciroli
Pinciroli is a researcher at MIST, École Polytechnique de Montréal in Canada under the supervision of Prof. Giovanni Beltrame. In 2005 he obtained a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, Italy and a Master’s degree in Computer Science at University of Illinois at Chicago. He then worked for one year in several projects for Barclays Bank PLC group. In 2006 he joined the IRIDIA laboratory at Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, under the supervision of Prof. Marco Dorigo. While at IRIDIA, he obtained a Diplôme d’études approfondies in 2007 and a PhD in applied sciences in 2014, and he completed a 8-month post-doctoral period. Dr. Pinciroli’s research focuses on software engineering for swarm robotics systems. He published 45 peer-reviewed articles and 2 book chapters. In 2015, F.R.S.-FNRS awarded him the most prestigious postdoctoral scholarship in Belgium (Chargé des Recherches).