Over the last decade, the field of robotics has experienced incredible growth. As perception improves and robust robotics hardware becomes a commodity, modern motion planning is enabling new applications with deep societal impact including transportation, agriculture, and healthcare. A critical next step is to produce motion from high-level specifications. The specifications declare what the robot must do, rather than how the task is to be done. This talk will present recent work in developing integrated frameworks that exploit methods from logical reasoning, formal synthesis, artificial intelligence, and robotics in order to produce solutions in manipulation scenarios and in cases where robots and humans perform complex tasks together. Importantly, the developed
algorithms have contributed to great advances in the field of computational structural biology. This talk will conclude by discussing robotics-inspired methods for molecular docking with the ultimate goal of aiding the discovery of new therapeutics.
Lydia E. Kavraki is the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and director of the Ken Kennedy Institute at Rice University. She also holds joint appointments in Bioengineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering at Rice. Kavraki obtained her B.A. from the University of Crete in Greece and her Ph.D. from Stanford University. She leads the NIH/NLM Training Program in Biomedical Informatics under the auspices of the Gulf Coast Consortia in Houston. Her interests are in physical algorithms and their applications in robotics and medicine. Kavraki is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the recipient of the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award and the ACM Athena Award, and a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, AAAS, AAAI and AIMBE.
THE ROBERT MUELLER-THUNS LECTURE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE was established at the University of Illinois through memorial gifts by his wife, Nikki Mueller-Thuns Mirghafori (BS ‘91), family, friends, and colleagues. Robert thrived and made life-long friends at Illinois and it is hoped that the Mueller-Thuns Lectureship in Computer Science will give the chance to others at Illinois to think more, learn more, and do more as an appropriate memorial to a man whose intellectual intensity, integrity, and vibrancy made him an inspiration to all who knew him.