I am always looking for self-motivated students to work on research with me on a variety of topics, including (but not limited to) perception, planning, and failure recovery of autonomous mobile robots. Our research is driven primarily by the end-goal of having autonomous mobile robots deployed over long time-scales spanning years at a time, in challenging real-world human environments. I am most interested in solving problems, not promoting tools - this means building or selecting the best tools for the problem, not the most popular tools of the time. Finally, I am interested in applying our research to real-world robots, not simulation. My previous papers are representative of the research I work on, and in particular, here is a summary of much of my research to date.
I work with students from many prior backgrounds, including Mathematics, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science. Students don’t need to have a specific degree to be successful in our group, but they should have a strong mathematical background, an eagerness to learn new topics, and a willingness to pick up new skills on the fly, including new programming languages and libraries.
Prospective PhD students interested in working with me should apply via the UT CS PhD Application website, and make sure to mention my name in your application. PhD admissions are made by committee, and I cannot provide insights into the chances of being accepted. Mor Harchol-Balter at CMU has an article with some excellent advice to prospective PhD applicants - I highly recommend reading it.
If you are currently an undergraduate student at UT Austin, and would like to get some experience working on robotics research, please send me an email. Please include in your email:
Please bear in mind that working on robotics research is time-consuming. You should expect to devote a minimum of 11 hours per week to research. You will have to sign up for a 3-credit independent study with me to work on research.
I occasionally have funding for exceptional undergraduate students from other universities to come work in my lab for a summer. However, such positions are rare, and only offered to the most promising students. Successful past summer undergraduate students who have worked with me have gone on to publish their summer research at top robotics and AI conferences, and subsequently joined PhD programs at top CS departments. If you have already worked on some research, have outstanding grades in your major, can list two faculty who are willing to provide letters of reference for you, and can commit to a 14-week summer research internship, please feel free to email me with the subject “Prospective Summer Robotics Research Internship”, including in your email:
Due to the volume of emails I receive in this category, I cannot commit to replying to every one, but I do read every email. If you do not hear back from me, I apologize, but it may be that a position is either unavailable at the moment, or that it is not the best fit.