News & Events


Caltech and Disney Engineers Collaborate on Robotics


Caltech and Disney Research have entered into a joint research agreement to pioneer robotic control systems and further explore artificial intelligence technologies. Pietro Perona will work with Disney roboticist Martin Buehler to create navigation and perception software that could allow robotic characters to safely move through dense crowds and interact with people. Aaron Ames will work with Disney Research's Lanny Smoot to further explore robot autonomy and machine learning by creating objects that can self-navigate and perform stunts. Yisong Yue has been working with engineers from Disney Research on the use of machine learning to analyze the behavior of soccer players and to measure audience engagement. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights MCE CMS Pietro Perona Yisong Yue Aaron Ames

Building Blocks to Create Metamaterials


Chiara Daraio, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, and colleagues have created a method to systematically design metamaterials using principles of quantum mechanics. "Before our work, there was no single, systematic way to design metamaterials that control mechanical waves for different applications," Professor Daraio says. "Instead, people often optimized a design to fulfill a specific purpose, or tried out new designs based on something they saw in nature, and then studied what properties would arise from repeated patterns." [Caltech story]

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Life in Transition


As she steps down as CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, Telle Whitney (PhD ’85) reflects on her career in tech—and the path ahead for the next generation of women. From Caltech to researcher to entrepreneur to advocate for women in technology, this Caltech alumna’s career has thrived on risk-taking and transition—and she’s inspired and assisted hundreds of thousands of women along the way. [Techer profile]

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Professor Bernardi Receives NSF CAREER Award


Marco Bernardi, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, has been awarded the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his 5-year project, “First-Principles Electron and Spin Dynamics in Materials with Spin-Orbit Coupling”. The CAREER program is NSF's most prestigious awards for junior faculty members. The level and 5-year duration of the awards are designed to enable awardees to develop careers as outstanding teacher-scholars. Awardees are chosen because they exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

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Award For Technical Clarity and Ease of Understanding


Animashree (Anima) Anandkumar, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and colleagues have won a Best Poster Award at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) MLtrain workshop. The submission was called “Tensor Regression Networks with TensorLy and MXNet” and the work showed that tensor contractions and regression layers are an effective replacement for fully connected layers in deep learning architectures. The MLtrain workshop focuses on making research more accessible through ipython notebooks and the submissions are judged based on the technical clarity and ease of understanding of the poster and the code. [View the poster]

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Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award


Caltech senior Ching-Yun “Chloe” Hsu has won a 2018 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award from the Computing Research Association (CRA). Her research interests are in theoretical computer science and the intersection of computer science and mathematics.  She learned about the “3SUM Conjecture” when she took a course in computational complexity theory in her freshman year and her subsequent research on that problem has led to important new results that were published in the 42ndInternational Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science in 2017.  In addition, results of her research on the Discrete Fourier Transform were published in the Symposium on Discrete Algorithms in 2018.  She has served as teaching assistant for numerous courses and as an English to Chinese translator for Scientific American. [CRA bulletin]

Caltech senior Jacob (Jalex) Stark received an honorable mention form the CRA awards selection committee.

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Best Poster Award At Neural Information Processing Systems Conference


CMS postdoctoral scholar Qi (Rose) Yu, working with Professor Anandkumar, and graduate student Stephan Zheng, working with Professor Yue, have won the Best Poster Presentation Award at the 2017 Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) Time Series Workshop. Dr. Yu works on the challenge of long-term forecasting in environments with nonlinear dynamics such as those involving climate and traffic data. She is tackling this challenge uses Tensor-Train RNN which are a novel family of neural sequence models that learn nonlinear dynamics directly using higher order moments and high-order state transition functions. [View her poster]

Tags: honors CMS Yisong Yue Animashree Anandkumar postdocs Qi (Rose) Yu Stephan Tao Zheng

Scientists Discover Unexpected Side Effect to Cleaning Up Urban Air


For decades, efforts to reduce air pollution have led to cleaner air in U.S cities like Los Angeles, with subsequent improvements in public health. Those efforts have targeted both nitric oxides and hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are emitted from many sources including gasoline-powered cars, trucks, solvents, cleaners used both at home and in industrial settings, and even trees.  Professor Paul O. Wennberg and colleagues have found that there is another chemical pathway for forming organic hydroperoxides—one that occurs at nitric oxide levels substantially higher than can be found in the atmosphere over unpopulated regions. "This is chemistry that does not exist in any of the models of how nitric oxide and hydrocarbons interact," says Professor Wennberg. [Caltech story]

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Two Holograms in One Surface


Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, graduate student Seyedeh Mahsa Kamali, and colleagues have figured out a way to encode more than one holographic image in a single surface without any loss of resolution. The team developed silicon oxide and aluminum surfaces studded with tens of millions of tiny silicon posts, each just hundreds of nanometers tall. Each nanopost reflects light differently due to variations in its shape and size, and based on the angle of incoming light. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights Andrei Faraon APh Seyedeh Mahsa Kamali

AWS and Caltech Partner to Accelerate AI and Machine Learning


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]

Tags: CMS Adam Wierman Pietro Perona Joel Tropp Yisong Yue Aaron Ames Animashree Anandkumar