News & Events


Yashwanth Nakka Wins Best Graduate Student Paper Award


Graduate student Yashwanth Nakka, working with Soon-Jo Chung, Bren Professor of Aerospace; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, and colleagues have won the Best Graduate Student Paper award at the 2021 AIAA SciTech Forum in the area of Guidance, Navigation, and Control. The paper is entitled “Information-Based Guidance and Control Architecture for Multi-Spacecraft On-Orbit Inspection,” and the co-authors are Caltech postdoctoral scholar Wolfgang Hoenig and research engineer Alexei Harvard, as well as JPL colleagues Changrak Choi and Amir Rahmani. This work was supported by the JPL-CAST Swarm Autonomy project. 

Tags: GALCIT CMS Soon-Jo Chung postdocs Yashwanth Nakka Wolfgang Hoenig Alexei Harvard Changrak Choi Amir Rahmani

Machine Learning Helps Robot Swarms Coordinate


Soon-Jo Chung, Bren Professor of Aerospace, Yisong Yue, Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, postdoctoral scholar Wolfgang Hönig, and graduate students Benjamin Rivière and Guanya Shi, have designed a new data-driven method to control the movement of multiple robots through cluttered, unmapped spaces, so they do not run into one another. "Our work shows some promising results to overcome the safety, robustness, and scalability issues of conventional black-box artificial intelligence (AI) approaches for swarm motion planning with GLAS and close-proximity control for multiple drones using Neural-Swarm," says Chung. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT CMS Yisong Yue CNS Soon-Jo Chung postdocs Benjamin Rivière Guanya Shi Wolfgang Hönig

Microstructures Self-Assemble into New Materials


A new process developed at Caltech makes it possible for the first time to manufacture large quantities of materials whose structure is designed at a nanometer scale—the size of DNA's double helix. Pioneered by Julia R. Greer, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering; Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, "nanoarchitected materials" exhibit unusual, often surprising properties—for example, exceptionally lightweight ceramics that spring back to their original shape, like a sponge, after being compressed. Now, a team of engineers at Caltech and ETH Zurich have developed a material that is designed at the nanoscale but assembles itself—with no need for the precision laser assembly. "We couldn't 3-D print this much nanoarchitected material even in a month; instead we're able to grow it in a matter of hours," says Carlos M. Portela, Postdoctoral Scholar. "It is exciting to see our computationally designed optimal nanoscale architectures being realized experimentally in the lab," says Dennis M. Kochmann, Visiting Associate. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights GALCIT MedE MCE Julia Greer KNI Dennis Kochmann postdocs Carlos Portela

Best Paper Award


Postdoctoral Scholar Carlos M. Portela, working with Professor Julia Greer and Dennis Kochmann, has won the Gold Paper Award. The title of the paper is "Supersonic Impact on Carbon Nano-architected Materials." The award was granted to the best student contribution across all topic areas at the Society of Engineering Science (SES) 56th Technical Meeting.

Tags: APhMS honors Julia Greer Dennis Kochmann postdocs Carlos Portela

CAST Awards Seed Funding to Three New Projects


Caltech Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST) has awarded seed funding to three new collaborative projects. The first project was proposed by Aerospace postdoctoral scholar H. Jane Bae, along with Professors McKeon, Tropp, and Meiron. It aims to develop algorithms to predict the onset of extreme events in real time thus allowing autonomous air vehicles to avoid or compensate for the rough turbulent airflow. The second project was proposed by Professors Effros, and Murray and will focus a new approach to the analysis, design, and implementation of complex, networked systems with the goal of optimizing latency in information sharing. The third project was proposed by Professor Thompson and JPL colleagues I. Fenty, R. Castano, D. Limonadi, and G. Woodward. This project plans to take a step towards developing autonomous observing arrays that will use ocean robotics to deploy ice melt-rate instruments within ice shelf cavities.

Tags: GALCIT Beverley McKeon Michelle Effros Joel Tropp Andrew Thompson Richard Murray Dan Meiron postdocs H. Jane Bae I. Fenty R. Castano D. Limonadi G. Woodward

President Rosenbaum Highlights Postdocs as "Unsung Heroes"


In a letter to the Caltech community during National Postdoc Appreciation Week, the Caltech President emphasizes the role this key group plays at the Institute. He stated, “Caltech's mission of world-leading research and education depends crucially on our postdoctoral scholars. Although their time at Caltech may be short, they quickly become vital parts of the Institute's intellectual fabric.” [President’s Letter] [EAS Postdoc Resource Page]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT MedE MCE CMS ESE Thomas Rosenbaum postdocs

Dragonfly Larvae Inspire New Designs for Prosthetic Heart Valves


Professor Mory Gharib and postdoctoral researcher Chris Roh (MS '13, PhD '17) have studied the design and control of the jets that dragonfly larvae use to propel themselves to re-design health values. "The current heart valve design is a one-size-fits-all, where no patient-specific design is considered, and this causes many post-transplant complications," Dr. Roh says. "We believe that an intentionally off-centered opening of the heart valve to more closely match the patient's original blood flow will be an important design parameter that can be adjusted based on each patient's heart morphology." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib Chris Roh postdocs

Professor Ravichandran Receives Werner Köster Prize


Guruswami Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering as well as Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, and his former postdoctoral scholar Dr. Laurence Bodelot have been selected to receive the 2014 Werner Köster Prize for their paper entitled “Experimental determination of a representative texture and insight into the range of significant neighbouring grain interactions via orientation and misorientation statistics.

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Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran Laurence Bodelot postdocs

One-way Transmission System for Sound Waves


Postdoctoral scholar, Georgios Theocharis, and GALCIT alumnus Nicholas Boechler; working with Professor Chiara Daraio, have created the first tunable acoustic diode- a device that allows acoustic information to travel only in one direction, at controllable frequencies. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT Georgios Theocharis Nicholas Boechler postdocs

Best Paper Finalist in Robotics


Marin Kobilarov, a W. M. Keck Institute for Space Studies Postdoctoral Fellow, was a finalist for the best paper award in the 2011 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference - his paper is entitled Cross-Entropy Randomized Motion Planning .  The conference committee solicited original papers in all areas of robotics and followed a highly selective review process designed to select the best work of its kind in every category. Dr. Kobilarov is working on discrete geometric motion control of autonomous vehicles with Professors Mathieu Desbrun and Sergio Pellegrino.  [Read the paper]

Tags: honors GALCIT CMS Mathieu Desbrun Sergio Pellegrino Marin Kobilarov KISS postdocs