Group

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Postdoctoral Researchers

Laura Hallock
Postdoctoral researcher, MEAM

Laura is interested in using novel musculoskeletal modeling and sensing modalities to build safer and more dexterous human–robot systems, including intuitively controlled high-dimensional robot platforms (e.g., assistive devices) and collaborative manipulation teams. She has a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) from the University of California, Berkeley — where she piloted the use of ultrasound-measured muscle deformation for device control and showed its promise as a source of muscle force information for biomechanical modeling — and an SB (also in EECS) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — where she worked on neuromuscular modeling for lower-limb prostheses. Her research interests span sensing, imaging, modeling, system identification, and motor control (both human and robotic)

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Sandeep Manjanna
Postdoctoral researcher, CIS

Sandeep is a James McDonnell Postdoctoral Fellow at CIS, Upenn. His research interests include robotic active sampling, multi-robot coordination, robotic sensor networks, reinforcement learning, and machine learning. Sandeep recieved his MSc and PhD from McGill University adviced by Gregory Dudek. His doctoral research focuses on designing algorithms for autonomous vehicles to sample, understand, and map challenging environments.

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Lifeng Zhou
Postdoctoral researcher, MEAM

Lifeng’s research focuses on enabling security, trustworthiness, and long-term autonomy in robotics and autonomous systems. His interests include multi-robot coordination, approximation algorithms, combinatorial optimization, model predictive control, graph neural networks, and resilient, risk-aware decision making. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech in 2020. He obtained his master’s degree in Automation from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China in 2016, and his Bachelor’s degree in Automation from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China in 2013.

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Ph.D Students

Anish Bhattacharya
PhD student, CIS

Anish is interested in using learning to enable control from vision data. His background involves developing full-stack autonomy for aerial robotics in the field, as well as quadrotor control for pursuing moving aerial targets. He has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.S. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University

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Anthony Bisulco
PhD student, ESE

Anthony’s research interests are in event-based perception, hardware accelerators, and machine learning. He has his B.S. in ECE from Northeastern University and his MEng from Cornell Tech.

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Austin Chen
PhD student, CIS

Austin’s research interests include swarm robotics and multi-agent systems, with a focus on the scalable control of robot teams in applications like perimeter defense and resource allocation. He received a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2018, as well as an M.S. in Robotics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2020.

Steven Chen
PhD student, CIS

Steven’s research interests are in deep learning applications in robot perception, action, and communication. He is specifically interested in robots for unstructured, natural environments such as farms and forests. Steven is also the CEO and co-founder of Treeswift, a venture-backed startup he founded with Kumar Lab alumni.

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Spencer Folk
PhD student, MEAM

Spencer is interested in planning, control, and design for aerial vehicles with emphasis on constructing compact models of aerodynamics and windy environments for applications in more energy-efficient planning, agile and robust control, and potentially new and innovative designs. His background includes prior work with the US Army Research Laboratory on scalable and reconfigurable 3D-printed UAVs. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Lafayette College

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Malakhi Hopkins
PhD student, ESE

Malakhi is interested in mapping and navigation in real-time with decentralized, heterogeneous multi-robot systems. Malakhi graduated with a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Spring 2020.

Laura Jarin-Lipschitz
PhD student, MEAM

Laura’s research is focused on search-based motion planning for fast flight in cluttered and unstructured environments. She received a M.S. in robotics at Penn in 2021 and an S.B. in mechanical engineering at MIT in 2016.

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Tom Zhang Jiahao
PhD student, CIS

Tom is pursuing his PhD in Computer and Information Science (CIS) under the joint supervision of Dr. M. Ani Hsieh and Dr. Vijay Kumar. His current research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning and dynamical systems, and their applications in swarm robotics and control. Tom received a B.S. in both Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering in 2018 from Cornell University, where he worked on high-level synthesis for swarm robots and MEMS GHz ultrasonic transducers. At Cornell, he was advised by Dr. Hadas Kress-Gazit and Dr. Amit Lal.

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Pratik Kunapuli
PhD student, CIS

Pratik is interested in using reinforcement learning to control agile and dynamic robots in the real world, as well as improving sample efficiency in sim2real transfer. His previous work involved using machine learning for state estimation in human-augmentation robotics as well as online adaptation of machine learning-based control. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Elijah S. Lee
PhD student, CIS

Elijah’s passion is in the construction of robust robotic systems, and he strives to build autonomous systems to aid humans and solve real-world problems. His research interests include aerial robotics, autonomous vehicles, computer vision, deep learning, reinforcement learning, and perimeter defense.

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Alice Kate Li
PhD student, ESE

Alice is interested in informative path planning for environmental monitoring and modeling spatio-temporal processes. She is co-advised by Dr. Ani Hsieh and Dr. Vijay Kumar. She received her B.S and M.S in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.

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Wenxin Liu
PhD Student, CIS

Wenxin’s research in PhD focuses on visual-inertial state estimation, deep learning and computer vision, and micro aerial robots.

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Xu Liu
PhD student, MEAM

Xu is interested in developing long-range autonomous UAV navigation and multi-robot semantic mapping systems for large-scale, unstructured, cluttered, GPS-denied 3-D environments, and applying them to solve real-world problems such as precision agriculture and infrastructure inspection. He received the M.S.E. degree in Robotics from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA, in 2019.

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Matthew Malencia
PhD student, ESE

Matthew is a robotics researcher, an AI educator, and a science policy advocate. His research on coordination strategies enables robot teams to accomplish complex tasks within the context of real world human systems by leveraging robot heterogeneity. He is co-advised by Dr. George Pappas and collaborates with Dr. Amanda Prorok at the University of Cambridge as a visiting researcher

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Katie Mao
PhD student, MEAM

Katherine is interested in aerial robotics and motion planning. She received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 2020.

Ian Miller
PhD student, ESE

Ian’s work revolves around enabling robotic systems to perceive the world in more human-like ways, as well as building on these human-like representations for higher levels of autonomy. He has a particular focus on system design and field robotics, and is especially interested in building robust systems of many robots that can operate in real-world conditions. He has a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a B.S. in Physics, both from Lafayette College.

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Daniel Mox
PhD student, MEAM

Daniel is interested in solving practical, fundamental challenges at the intersection of robotics and wireless systems using search-based planning, optimization and machine learning.

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Ty Nguyen
PhD student, CIS

Ty’s research interests are in the areas of Machine Learning, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. His current focuses are on Control & Optimization, Deep Reinforcement Learning, Knowledge Transfer and Probabilistic Modelling. As a long-term goal, he whole-heartedly works to facilitate the coexisting of robots and intelligent agents with us.

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Fernando Cladera Ojeda
PhD student, CIS

Fernando is interested in perception and energy-efficient hardware architectures for robotics. Specifically, he is looking into the intersection of embedded systems, autonomous robots, and event-based vision. He has more than six years of experience in hardware and embedded systems design. Fernando received his B. Sc from the National University of Cuyo and the Brest National School of Engineering. He then received an M. Sc. in embedded systems at the University of Rennes 1 and an M. Sc. in Robotics at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining Penn, Fernando worked for the Samsung AI Center in NY.

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Kelsey Saulnier
PhD student, ESE

Kelsey is a PhD student interested in problems related to active information acquisition and autonomous mapping. She received a B.S and M.S in Computer Engineering from RPI in 2011 and 2013 respectively as well as a M.S.E in Robotics from University of Pennsylvania in 2017.

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Anusha Srikanthan
PhD student, ESE

Anusha is pursuing her PhD in Electrical and Systems Engineering advised by Dr. Nikolai Matni and Dr. Vijay Kumar. She is working at the intersection of multi-agent systems, learning and control theory. She completed her Masters Thesis at Georgia Institute of Technology, advised by Dr. Harish Ravichandar and Dr. Sonia Chernova. The focus of her thesis was on the design of algorithms for learning implicit task requirements for multi-agent task allocation using data from expert demonstrations. Outside of academia, she was a performer and headed the dance team during her undergraduate years at NIT Trichy, India.

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Yuezhan Tao
PhD student, CIS

Yuezhan is a PhD student studying Computer and Information Science under the supervision of Dr. Vijay Kumar. He is interested in active exploration and multi-robot collaborative mapping leveraging on-board sensing and computation power. Yuezhan completed his MSE in Computer and Information Science at UPenn. Before that, he got his BE in Computer Science and Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.

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Jake Welde
PhD student, MEAM

Jake’s research focuses on planning and control for underactuated multibody aerial robots, such as quadrotors equipped with manipulator arms. He is interested in exploring the fundamental geometric properties of these systems to develop a deeper theoretical understanding, as well as using these insights to inform mechanical design and practical control implementation on real-world robots. Jake also completed his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Robotics here at Penn.

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Yuwei Wu
MS student, ESE

Yuwei’s research interest lies in motion planning. Her work involves optimization-based trajectory generations under disturbance for aerial robotics and obstacles avoidance in dynamic environments.

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Research Staff

Dinesh Thakur
Research Scientist

Dinesh’s interests are in multi-robot path planning and controls. He has a B.S. in Electrical & Electronics Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Dubai and a M.S. in Robotics from University of Pennsylvania.

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Rahul Zahroof
Research Specialist

Rahul received his MS in robotics in 2021. His interests lie in multi-robot path planning, controls, and novel machine learning applications in robotics.

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Alex Zhou
Research Engineer


Undergraduate Students

Aishwarya Balaji
Undergraduate M&T Student in CIS and Economics

Aishwarya is interested in the use of computer vision in agriculture. Her background involves using adsorption techniques to manage agricultural waste, as well as analyzing cognitive impairment using applied methods of nonparametric smoothing and functional data analysis.

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