2019 Workshop at Kennedy Space Center

NASA Swarmathon Workshop

Tue, June 11th and Wed 12th, 2019
at: The John F. Kennedy Space Center’s
Visitor Complex




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 a 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.

Professor Radhika Nagpal is the Fred Kavli Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a founding Core Faculty Member of the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, where she co-lead the BioRobotics Platform. Before becoming faculty, she spent a year as a Research Fellow in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. Prof. Nagpal received her PhD and was a Postdoc Lecturer at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), as a member of the Amorphous Computing Group, supported by the Bell Labs GRPW Fellowship. She received the Microsoft New Faculty Fellowship, NSF Career Award, Anita Borg Early Career Award, Radcliffe Fellowship, and be an invited TED Speaker. In 2014, Prof. Nagpal was chosen for the Nature 10 Award, given to the top ten influential scientists and engineers by the journal Nature (Dec 2014). In 2017, she co-founded and is Scientific Advisor for an educational robotics company, ROOT Robotics, aimed at democratizing coding, AI and robotics through early education; our lab’s Kilobots have also been commercialized by K-Team Inc and over 5000 robots have been sold worldwide.

Dr. Joshua Hecker is a Senior Software Developer at the Lockheed Martin Autonomous Systems Group where he works on autonomous vehicles. While at post-doc a the University of New Mexico he studied the interactions and interdependencies between the behaviors of biologically-inspired robot swarms and the environments in which they are located. His research focused 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 for its first two years, an innovative national robotics competition, he oversaw 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.