News & Events

67 News items, Awards, Events or Talks found.



Learn about the MERL Seminar Series.



  •  NEWS    MERL researchers win ASME Energy Systems Technical Committee Best Paper Award at 2022 American Control Conference
    Date: June 8, 2022
    Where: 2022 American Control Conference
    MERL Contacts: Ankush Chakrabarty; Christopher R. Laughman
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization
    Brief
    • Researchers from EPFL (Wenjie Xu, Colin Jones) and EMPA (Bratislav Svetozarevic), in collaboration with MERL researchers Ankush Chakrabarty and Chris Laughman, recently won the ASME Energy Systems Technical Committee Best Paper Award at the 2022 American Control Conference for their work on "VABO: Violation-Aware Bayesian Optimization for Closed-Loop Performance Optimization with Unmodeled Constraints" out of 19 nominations and 3 finalists. The paper describes a data-driven framework for optimizing the performance of constrained control systems by systematically re-evaluating how cautiously/aggressively one should explore the search space to avoid sustained, large-magnitude constraint violations while tolerating small violations, and demonstrates these methods on a physics-based model of a vapor compression cycle.
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  •  NEWS    MERL researchers presented 9 papers at the American Control Conference (ACC)
    Date: June 8, 2022 - June 10, 2022
    Where: Atlanta, GA
    MERL Contacts: Karl Berntorp; Scott A. Bortoff; Ankush Chakrabarty; Stefano Di Cairano; Christopher R. Laughman; Marcel Menner; Rien Quirynen; Abraham P. Vinod; Avishai Weiss
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Optimization
    Brief
    • At the American Control Conference in Atlanta, GA, MERL presented 9 papers on subjects including autonomous-vehicle decision making and motion planning, realtime Bayesian inference and learning, reference governors for hybrid systems, Bayesian optimization, and nonlinear control.
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  •  NEWS    Arvind Raghunathan's publication is Featured Article in the current issue of the INFORMS Journal on Computing
    Date: April 1, 2022
    Where: INFORMS Journal on Computing (https://pubsonline.informs.org/journal/ijoc)
    MERL Contact: Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Optimization
    Brief
    • Arvind Raghunathan co-authored a publication titled "JANOS: An Integrated Predictive and Prescriptive Modeling Framework" which has been chosen as a Featured Article in the current issue of the INFORMS Journal on Computing. The article was co-authored with Prof. David Bergman, a collaborator of MERL and Teng Huang, a former MERL intern, among others.

      The paper describes a new software tool, JANOS, that integrates predictive modeling and discrete optimization to assist decision making. Specifically, the proposed solver takes as input user-specified pretrained predictive models and formulates optimization models directly over those predictive models by embedding them within an optimization model through linear transformations.
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  •  NEWS    Toshiaki Koike-Akino gave an invited lecture to USPTO on advanced photonics
    Date: May 4, 2022
    MERL Contact: Toshiaki Koike-Akino
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Optimization, Signal Processing
    Brief
    • Toshiaki Koike-Akino gave an invited lecture on advanced photonic devices at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Technology Fair on May 4, 2022. Topics of the lecture included the recent progress of applied artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for optical systems, nano-photonic devices, and quantum technology. During the 2-hour interactive online presentation, he lectured to more than 200 patent examiner participants.

      USPTO Tech Fair Organizer mentioned:
      "Thank you very much for representing Advanced Photonic Devices at this year’s Technology Center 2800 Virtual Tech Fair held May 4th, 2022. Tech Fair is an important part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Examiner Technical Training Program (PETTP). Having a scientifically well-trained examiner workforce and ensuring the quality, consistency, and reliability of issued patents are top priorities at the USPTO. The PETTP is designed to achieve those priorities by giving examiners direct access to technical experts who are willing to share their knowledge about prior art and industry standards for both emerging and established technologies. Experts like yourself help to maintain our high quality of patent examination by keeping examiners updated on technologies and innovations pertinent to their field of examination.
      We very much appreciate your efforts, time, and contributions."
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2022] Prof. Michael Posa presents talk titled Hybrid robotics and implicit learning
    Date & Time: Tuesday, May 3, 2022; 1:00 PM
    Speaker: Michael Posa, University of Pennsylvania
    MERL Host: Devesh K. Jha
    Research Areas: Control, Optimization, Robotics
    Abstract
    • Machine learning has shown incredible promise in robotics, with some notable recent demonstrations in manipulation and sim2real transfer. These results, however, require either an accurate a priori model (for simulation) or a large amount of data. In contrast, my lab is focused on enabling robots to enter novel environments and then, with minimal time to gather information, accomplish complex tasks. In this talk, I will argue that the hybrid or contact-driven nature of real-world robotics, where a robot must safely and quickly interact with objects, drives this high data requirement. In particular, the inductive biases inherent in standard learning methods fundamentally clash with the non-differentiable physics of contact-rich robotics. Focusing on model learning, or system identification, I will show both empirical and theoretical results which demonstrate that contact stiffness leads to poor training and generalization, leading to some healthy skepticism of simulation experiments trained on artificially soft environments. Fortunately, implicit learning formulations, which embed convex optimization problems, can dramatically reshape the optimization landscape for these stiff problems. By carefully reasoning about the roles of stiffness and discontinuity, and integrating non-smooth structures, we demonstrate dramatically improved learning performance. Within this family of approaches, ContactNets accurately identifies the geometry and dynamics of a six-sided cube bouncing, sliding, and rolling across a surface from only a handful of sample trajectories. Similarly, a piecewise-affine hybrid system with thousands of modes can be identified purely from state transitions. Time permitting, I'll discuss how these learned models can be deployed for control via recent results in real-time, multi-contact MPC.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2022] Prof. Sebastien Gros presents talk titled RLMPC: An Ideal Combination of Formal Optimal Control and Reinforcement Learning?
    Date & Time: Tuesday, April 12, 2022; 11:00 AM EDT
    Speaker: Sebastien Gros, NTNU
    MERL Host: Rien Quirynen
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Optimization
    Abstract
    • Reinforcement Learning (RL), similarly to many AI-based techniques, is currently receiving a very high attention. RL is most commonly supported by classic Machine Learning techniques, i.e. typically Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). While there are good motivations for using DNNs in RL, there are also significant drawbacks. The lack of “explainability” of the resulting control policies, and the difficulty to provide guarantees on their closed-loop behavior (safety, stability) makes DNN-based policies problematic in many applications. In this talk, we will discuss an alternative approach to support RL, via formal optimal control tools based on Model Predictive Control (MPC). This approach alleviates the issues detailed above, but also presents some challenges. In this talk, we will discuss why MPC is a valid tool to support RL, and how MPC can be combined with RL (RLMPC). We will then discuss some recent results regarding this combination, the known challenges, and the kind of control applications where we believe that RLMPC will be a valuable approach.
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  •  NEWS    Arvind Raghunathan delivers Optimization and Systems Theory seminar at KTH Royal Institute of Technology
    Date: March 10, 2022
    Where: Department of Mathematics, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
    MERL Contact: Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Area: Optimization
    Brief
    • Arvind Raghunathan will present the Optimization and System Theorem seminar in the Department of Mathematics at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The title of the talk is Recursive McCormick Linearizations of Multilinear Programs: Minimum Size Formulations.
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  •  NEWS    Rien Quirynen appointed as an Associate Editor for Journal of Optimal Control Applications and Methods (OCAM)
    Date: February 24, 2022
    MERL Contact: Rien Quirynen
    Research Areas: Control, Optimization
    Brief
    • Rien Quirynen has accepted an invitation to serve on the editorial board of Journal of Optimal Control Applications and Methods (OCAM) as an Associate Editor.

      OCAM provides a forum for papers on the full range of optimal control and related control design methods. The aim is to encourage new developments in optimal control theory and design methodologies that may lead to advances in real control applications.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2022] Extreme optics design as a large-scale optimization problem
    Date & Time: Tuesday, February 8, 2022; 1:00 PM EST
    Speaker: Raphaël Pestourie, MIT
    MERL Host: Matthew E. Brand
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Optimization
    Abstract
    • Thin large-area structures with aperiodic subwavelength patterns can unleash the full power of Maxwell’s equations for focusing light and a variety of other wave transformation or optical applications. Because of their irregularity and large scale, capturing the full scattering through these devices is one of the most challenging tasks for computational design: enter extreme optics! This talk will present ways to harness the full computational power of modern large-scale optimization in order to design optical devices with thousands or millions of free parameters. We exploit various methods of domain-decomposition approximations, supercomputer-scale topology optimization, laptop-scale “surrogate” models based on Chebyshev interpolation and/or new scientific machine learning models, and other techniques to attack challenging problems: achromatic lenses that simultaneously handle many wavelengths and angles, “deep” images, hyperspectral imaging, and more.
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  •  NEWS    Arvind Raghunathan to serve on The Howard Rosenbrock Prize committee
    Date: May 31, 2022
    MERL Contact: Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Area: Optimization
    Brief
    • Arvind Raghunathan from MERL's Data Analytics group has been invited to serve on the The Howard Rosenbrock Prize committee. Instituted in 2015, Optimization and Engineering journal's Howard Rosenbrock Prize is awarded annually to honor the authors of the best paper published in the journal in the previous year.
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  •  EVENT    Prof. Melanie Zeilinger of ETH to give keynote at MERL's Virtual Open House
    Date & Time: Thursday, December 9, 2021; 1:00pm - 5:30pm EST
    Location: Virtual Event
    Speaker: Prof. Melanie Zeilinger, ETH
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio, Digital Video, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Security
    Brief
    • MERL is excited to announce the second keynote speaker for our Virtual Open House 2021:
      Prof. Melanie Zeilinger from ETH .

      Our virtual open house will take place on December 9, 2021, 1:00pm - 5:30pm (EST).

      Join us to learn more about who we are, what we do, and discuss our internship and employment opportunities. Prof. Zeilinger's talk is scheduled for 3:15pm - 3:45pm (EST).

      Registration: https://mailchi.mp/merl/merlvoh2021

      Keynote Title: Control Meets Learning - On Performance, Safety and User Interaction

      Abstract: With increasing sensing and communication capabilities, physical systems today are becoming one of the largest generators of data, making learning a central component of autonomous control systems. While this paradigm shift offers tremendous opportunities to address new levels of system complexity, variability and user interaction, it also raises fundamental questions of learning in a closed-loop dynamical control system. In this talk, I will present some of our recent results showing how even safety-critical systems can leverage the potential of data. I will first briefly present concepts for using learning for automatic controller design and for a new safety framework that can equip any learning-based controller with safety guarantees. The second part will then discuss how expert and user information can be utilized to optimize system performance, where I will particularly highlight an approach developed together with MERL for personalizing the motion planning in autonomous driving to the individual driving style of a passenger.
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  •  EVENT    Prof. Ashok Veeraraghavan of Rice University to give keynote at MERL's Virtual Open House
    Date & Time: Thursday, December 9, 2021; 1:00pm - 5:30pm EST
    Location: Virtual Event
    Speaker: Prof. Ashok Veeraraghavan, Rice University
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio, Digital Video, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Security
    Brief
    • MERL is excited to announce the first keynote speaker for our Virtual Open House 2021:
      Prof. Ashok Veeraraghavan from Rice University.

      Our virtual open house will take place on December 9, 2021, 1:00pm - 5:30pm (EST).

      Join us to learn more about who we are, what we do, and discuss our internship and employment opportunities. Prof. Veeraraghavan's talk is scheduled for 1:15pm - 1:45pm (EST).

      Registration: https://mailchi.mp/merl/merlvoh2021

      Keynote Title: Computational Imaging: Beyond the limits imposed by lenses.

      Abstract: The lens has long been a central element of cameras, since its early use in the mid-nineteenth century by Niepce, Talbot, and Daguerre. The role of the lens, from the Daguerrotype to modern digital cameras, is to refract light to achieve a one-to-one mapping between a point in the scene and a point on the sensor. This effect enables the sensor to compute a particular two-dimensional (2D) integral of the incident 4D light-field. We propose a radical departure from this practice and the many limitations it imposes. In the talk we focus on two inter-related research projects that attempt to go beyond lens-based imaging.

      First, we discuss our lab’s recent efforts to build flat, extremely thin imaging devices by replacing the lens in a conventional camera with an amplitude mask and computational reconstruction algorithms. These lensless cameras, called FlatCams can be less than a millimeter in thickness and enable applications where size, weight, thickness or cost are the driving factors. Second, we discuss high-resolution, long-distance imaging using Fourier Ptychography, where the need for a large aperture aberration corrected lens is replaced by a camera array and associated phase retrieval algorithms resulting again in order of magnitude reductions in size, weight and cost. Finally, I will spend a few minutes discussing how the wholistic computational imaging approach can be used to create ultra-high-resolution wavefront sensors.
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  •  EVENT    MERL Virtual Open House 2021
    Date & Time: Thursday, December 9, 2021; 100pm-5:30pm (EST)
    Location: Virtual Event
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio, Digital Video, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Security
    Brief
    • Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories cordially invites you to join our Virtual Open House, on December 9, 2021, 1:00pm - 5:30pm (EST).

      The event will feature keynotes, live sessions, research area booths, and time for open interactions with our researchers. Join us to learn more about who we are, what we do, and discuss our internship and employment opportunities.

      Registration: https://mailchi.mp/merl/merlvoh2021
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  •  NEWS    Ankush Chakrabarty gave an invited talk at CRAN: Centre de Recherche en Automatique de Nancy, France
    Date: October 21, 2021
    Where: Université de Lorraine, France
    MERL Contact: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization
    Brief
    • Ankush Chakrabarty (RS, Multiphysical Systems Team) gave an invited talk on `Bayesian-Optimized Estimation and Control for Buildings and HVAC' at the Research Center for Automatic Control (CRAN) in the University of Lorraine in France. The talk presented recent MERL research on probabilistic machine learning for set-point optimization and calibration of digital twins for building energy systems.
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  •  NEWS    Diego Romeres appointed as Associate Editor at ICRA 2022.
    Date: September 17, 2021 - October 31, 2021
    MERL Contact: Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Diego Romeres, a Principal Research Scientist in MERL's Data Analytics group, is serving as an Associate Editor (AE) for the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2022.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2021] Prof. David Bergman presents talk in MERL Seminar Series titled, Integration of Analytics Techniques for Algorithmic Sports Betting
    Date & Time: Tuesday, September 14, 2021; 1:00 PM EST
    Speaker: Prof. David Bergman, University of Connecticut
    MERL Host: Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Optimization
    Abstract
    • The integration of machine learning and optimization opens the door to new modeling paradigms that have already proven successful across a broad range of industries. Sports betting is a particularly exciting application area, where recent advances in both analytics and optimization can provide a lucrative edge. In this talk we will discuss three algorithmic sports betting games where combinations of machine learning and optimization have netted me significant winnings.
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  •  NEWS    Anthony Vetro delivers keynote on robotic manipulation at inaugural IEEE Conference on Autonomous Systems
    Date: August 12, 2021
    MERL Contact: Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Control, Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Anthony Vetro gave a keynote at the inaugural IEEE Conference on Autonomous Systems (ICAS), which was held virtually from August 11-13, 2021. The talk focused on challenges and recent progress in the area of robotic manipulation. The conference is sponsored by IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) through the SPS Autonomous Systems Initiative.

      Abstract: Human-level manipulation continues to be beyond the capabilities of today’s robotic systems. Not only do current industrial robots require significant time to program a specific task, but they lack the flexibility to generalize to other tasks and be robust to changes in the environment. While collaborative robots help to reduce programming effort and improve the user interface, they still fall short on generalization and robustness. This talk will highlight recent advances in a number of key areas to improve the manipulation capabilities of autonomous robots, including methods to accurately model the dynamics of the robot and contact forces, sensors and signal processing algorithms to provide improved perception, optimization-based decision-making and control techniques, as well as new methods of interactivity to accelerate and enhance robot learning.
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  •  NEWS    Rien Quirynen and Karl Berntorp to deliver keynote at IFAC NMPC 2021 Conference
    Date: July 12, 2021
    MERL Contacts: Karl Berntorp; Rien Quirynen
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Optimization
    Brief
    • MERL researcher Rien Quirynen will present work in collaboration with Karl Berntorp on "Uncertainty Propagation by Linear Regression Kalman Filters for Stochastic Nonlinear MPC" as a keynote speaker at the 7th IFAC Conference on Nonlinear Model Predictive Control 2021 on July, 12th. The paper is 1 out of 5 keynote presentations chosen among more than 50 accepted papers at the conference. An abstract of the talk can be found in the link below.
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  •  NEWS    Arvind Raghunathan joins editorial board of Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications
    Date: June 21, 2021
    MERL Contact: Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Optimization
    Brief
    • Arvind Raghunathan has accepted an invitation to serve on the editorial board of Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications (JOTA).

      JOTA is devoted to the publication of carefully selected high quality regular papers, invited papers, survey papers, technical notes, book notices, and forums that cover mathematical optimization techniques, computational methodologies of optimization algorithms and their applications to science, engineering, and business. Typical theoretical areas include linear, nonlinear, discrete, stochastic, and dynamic optimization. Among the areas of application covered are mathematical economics, mathematical physics and biology, all areas of engineering, and novel areas, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing optimization.
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  •  NEWS    Ankush Chakrabarty gave an invited talk at University of Illinois at Chicago
    Date: April 9, 2021
    MERL Contact: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization
    Brief
    • Ankush Chakrabarty, a Research Scientist at MERL's Multiphysical Systems (MS) Team, gave an invited talk on "Learning for Control and Estimation using Digital Twins" at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Seminar Series organized at UIC. The talk proposed new learning-based control/estimation architectures that can utilize simulation data obtained from digital twins to add self-optimization and constraint-enforcement features to grey/black-box control systems.
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  •  EVENT    MERL Virtual Open House 2020
    Date & Time: Wednesday, December 9, 2020; 1:00-5:00PM EST
    Location: Virtual
    MERL Contacts: Elizabeth Phillips; Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio
    Brief
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  •  NEWS    Devesh Jha appointed as an Associate Editor for IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L).
    Date: October 29, 2020
    MERL Contact: Devesh K. Jha
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL Researcher Devesh Jha has been appointed to the editorial board of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L) as an Associate Editor. IEEE RA-L publishes peer-reviewed articles in the areas of robotics and automation which can also be presented at the annual flagship conferences of RAS like ICRA, IROS and CASE.
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  •  AWARD    Outstanding Presentation Award at the 28th Conference of Information Processing Society of Japan/Consumer Device & Systems
    Date: October 20, 2020
    Awarded to: Yukimasa Nagai, Takenori Sumi, Jianlin Guo, Philip Orlik, Hiroshi Mineno
    MERL Contacts: Jianlin Guo; Philip V. Orlik
    Research Areas: Communications, Optimization, Signal Processing
    Brief
    • MELCO and MERL researchers have won "Outstanding Presentation Award" at 28th Conference of Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ)/Consumer Device & Systems held on September 29-30, 2020. The paper titled "IEEE 802.19.3 Standardization for Coexistence of IEEE 802.11ah and IEEE 802.15.4g Systems in Sub-1 GHz Frequency Bands" reports IEEE 802.19.3 standard development on coexistence between IEEE 802.11ah and IEEE 802.15.4g systems in the Sub-1 GHz frequency bands. MERL and MELCO have been leading this standard development and made major technical contributions, which propose methods to mitigate interference in smart meter systems. The authors are Yukimasa Nagai, Takenori Sumi, Jianlin Guo, Philip Orlik and Hiroshi Mineno.
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  •  NEWS    Saleh Nabi gave an invited talk at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Rice University
    Date: September 30, 2020
    Where: Rice University
    MERL Contact: Saleh Nabi
    Research Areas: Dynamical Systems, Optimization
    Brief
    • MERL researcher Dr. S. Nabi was invited to give a talk on the state-of-the-art methods for airflow optimization and control at Rice University. Several industrial applications to buoyancy-driven flows in the built environment, atmospheric flows, and prevention of transmission of COVID-19 were discussed. Furthermore, some novel advances on data-driven fluid mechanics for industrial applications were covered.
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  •  NEWS    MERL Researcher Ankush Chakrabarty organized a special session on data-driven control at IEEE CCTA 2020
    Date: August 25, 2020
    MERL Contact: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Ankush Chakrabarty co-organized an invited session on “Data-Driven Control For Industrial Applications” at the IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications with Shahin Shahrampour (Asst. Prof., Texas A&M). Talks covered topics including reinforcement learning for aerospace systems, constrained reinforcement learning for motors, deep Q learning for traffic systems and participants included speakers from Stanford University, North Carolina State University, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State University, University of Science and Technology at Beijing, and TU Delft.

      MERL presented research (Chakrabarty, Danielson, Wang) on constraint-enforcing output-tracking with approximate dynamic programming for servomotor systems.
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