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Distinguished Lecture Series Featuring Laurel Riek

Date: Oct 9, 2017
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: Min Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building

Fluent Human Robot Teaming in Safety Critical Environments

Laurel Riek

Associate Professor
Computer Science and Engineering
University of California, San Diego 


Robots are now entering our daily lives – in the home, on the road, in offices, and in hospitals. To operate proximately with people, robots need the ability to dynamically and quickly interpret human activities, understand context, and take appropriate (and safe) actions. They also need to learn from and adapt to people long term. 

My research focuses on building robots that autonomously solve problems in human environments, particularly those that are safety critical (e.g., hospitals, homes, and factories). Recent contributions include new methods to model stochastic environments and circumvent sensor noise and occlusion, new techniques to enable robots to robustly solve problems under limited computational resources, and methods for robots to perceive and learn from people long term. Our primary application focus is healthcare, with recent work in emergency medicine and neurorehabilitation. This talk will describe several recent projects in this space.


Laurel Riek is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego. Riek is a roboticist with interests in human-robot interaction, computer vision, and healthcare engineering, and focuses on building systems able to sense, respond, and adapt to people. Riek’s current research projects have applications in critical care, neurorehabilitation, and manufacturing.

Riek received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge, and BS in Logic and Computation from Carnegie Mellon University. Riek served as a Senior Artificial Intelligence Engineer and Roboticist at The MITRE Corporation from 2000-2008, working on learning and vision systems for robots. From 2011-2016, Riek held the Clare Boothe Luce chair in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame.

Riek has received the NSF CAREER Award, AFOSR Young Investigator Award, Qualcomm Research Award, and was named one of ASEE’s 20 Faculty Under 40. Riek’s research has been supported by the NSF, AFOSR, DOE, Luce Foundation, Adobe, and Amazon.

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