MathAcrossCampus is a quarterly colloquium series at the University of Washington to showcase applications of mathematics, with a special emphasis on the growing role of discrete methods in math applications. The goal of this seminar is to expose theoreticians to applied work, to create a community of mathematicians and users of mathematics at UW, and to serve as a guide to students and researchers looking for projects and jobs in math-related areas by offering exposure to ongoing math applications in the Seattle area.
Taylor Perron, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The last few years have seen absolutely incredible advances in the field of robotics, with massive new investments from major companies including Google, Apple, and Uber. At the heart of these advances are algorithms, often using mathematical optimization, which allow our machines to better interpret massive streams of incoming data, to decide how and where to move, and even to balance and not fall down while they are executing those plans. In this talk, I'll describe some of those advances in the context of a controlling a 400lb humanoid robot in a disaster response scenario and an airplane that can dart through a forest at 30 mph. And I'd like to send a clear message -- there is still a lot of work to be done! Even small improvements in our mathematical foundations, such as the algorithms which check if a polynomial is uniformly greater than zero, can make our robots more capable of moving through the world.
MathAcrossCampus is also made possible by the efforts of UW Mathematics graduate students Clayton Barnes, Gerandy Brito Montes de Oca, Christopher Fowler, Matthew Junge, Hon Leung Lee, Avi Levy, and Harishchandra Ramadas.
Additional support has been provided by: The NSF VIGRE grant at UW; the departments of Applied Mathematics and Economics; the Milliman Fund; and the NSF Research Training Group in Inverse Problems and PDEs.