People

John Jackson

John Jackson

PhD Student, john.m.jackson@colorado.edu

Hey! I’m John, a PhD student in aerospace engineering at CU Boulder. My research interests include formal synthesis and verification, analysis of multi-agent networks, and applications of reliable autonomous systems. My current research is focusing on control synthesis for nonlinear systems with only partial knowledge of the dynamic model. I finished my undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. My extracurricular interests include maintaining my bike and my car, hiking when it is too cold out, and crossing books off my reading list.

Justin Kottinger

Justin Kottinger

PhD Student, justin.kottinger@colorado.edu

I am a graduate student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. Participating in team sports my entire life gave me a curiosity in using teamwork to achieve very difficult goals. My research is dedicated to introducing these complex team interactions to the world of robotics. Specifically, I am investigating multi-objective task planning for multi-agent robotic teams with the hopes that, one day, humans and robots can collaboratively perform complex tasks in ways only before dreamed of. In my spare time, I maintain an active outdoor lifestyle by constantly seeking trails to explore, mountains to snowboard down, and sports to play.

Anne Theurkauf

Anne Theurkauf

PhD Student, anne.theurkauf@colorado.edu

Hi, I’m Anne and I’m just starting my Ph.D. here at CU Boulder. After getting my undergraduate degrees at Lehigh University, I got my start in engineering at Draper labs working on precision navigation instruments, like IFOGs. After a few years in the nuts and bolts (literally) of instrument prototyping and testing, I decided to move out to Boulder to pursue an MS in aerospace engineering. My work as an MS student stayed on theme with an atom-based inertial sensing project, but my contributions shifted to the controls side. Now I am exploring a wicked exciting new direction for my Ph.D. with the ARIA System Group. I work on navigation and objective planning for collaborative multi-agent systems exploring the lunar surface. We use formal methods to generate decision making strategies that maximize both mission value and safety.

Qi Heng Ho

Qi Heng Ho

PhD Student, qi.ho@colorado.edu

Hey there! I’m Qi Heng, a first year PhD student at CU Boulder. My research interests include sequential decision making under uncertainty, formal synthesis for robotics, and the intersection of these fields. I am especially interested in understanding how we can develop time and safety-critical autonomous systems that perform reliably with behavioral guarantees in partially observable and unstructured environments. Previously, I was a research engineer at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Centre, where I worked on developing algorithms for self-driving vehicles. I grew up in Singapore, and completed my undergraduate degree at the National University of Singapore.

Kandai Watanabe

Kandai Watanabe

PhD Student, Kandai.Watanabe@colorado.edu

Hi, I’m Kandai Watanabe, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. I got my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree at Keio University, Japan and also studied at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign during my Bachelor’s Degree. My research interest lies in the intersection between Control Theory, Optimization Theory and Probability Theory. I’m especially interested in long-term task learning for a robot to accomplish complex tasks like cooking. I have experiences in low-level engineering (circuit design, sensor fetching, sensor fusion, filtering, and controller design) as well as high-level decision making algorithms (e.g. Reinforcement Learning). At ARIA Systems Group, I envision to synthesize high-level task learning (e.g. formal methods) with the low-level primitive policy learning (e.g. RL).

Rayan Mazouz

Rayan Mazouz

PhD Student, rayan.mazouz@colorado.edu

Hi! I’m Rayan, a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering at CU Boulder. My research focuses on developing control strategies and software for safety-critical systems. Specifically, finding optimal control methods that include formal safety specifications using Control Barrier Functions. I obtained my Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. I was a (Fulbright) researcher for two years at the Robotics Section of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where I developed models for astrodynamics applications. I enjoy outdoor activities, with playing soccer being my absolute favorite.

Karan Muvvala

Karan Muvvala

PhD Student, karan.muvvala@colorado.edu

Hey, I am Karan, a first-year Ph.D. student in the Aerospace Engineering Dept. at CU. I did my undergrad in India and Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at CU Boulder. At ARIA Systems group I work on developing theories and algorithms that enable robots to operate safely, robustly, and efficiently in unknown and dynamic environments. Currently, I am working on Verifying the safety of complex autonomous systems modeled as neural networks and guaranteeing their safety using Barrier Methods for Safe Autonomy. I am also working on Synthesizing high-level strategies for a robotic manipulator operating in the presence of a human using game-theoretic approaches to enable more human-like behavior for robots. My current research interest includes Formal Methods, Verification and Planning for Autonomous systems, Game Theory, and Control Theory.

Nate Osikowicz

Nate Osikowicz

PhD Student, nate.osikowicz@colorado.edu

Hi, I’m Nate, a first-year PhD student and NSF graduate research fellow at CU Boulder. My current research interests involve incorporating learned dynamics into model-based control architectures. I would like to work towards a data-driven control framework that can provide guarantees on performance and safety while maintaining computational efficiency and scalability. Prior to landing at CU, I completed my BS and MS studies at Penn State University, where I investigated the dynamics and control of shape-morphing systems known as tensegrity structures. In my spare time, I enjoy tinkering with vehicle hardware and embedded systems. Outside of academics, I’m a passionate rock/ice climber and continue to be inspired by the unique rock formations that surround us here in Boulder.

Robert Reed

Robert Reed

PhD Student, robert.reed-1@colorado.edu

Hello! I’m Robert and I started my Ph.D. in the ARIA Systems Group in Fall 2021. After getting my undergraduate degree at MIT, I spent a few years working as a Controls Engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. My work there expanded my interests in control theory and encouraged me to delve into research for autonomous systems. My research interests include safety verification of systems with unknown dynamics, neural network output verification, and formal synthesis. In my spare time, I like rock climbing, kickboxing, and playing with my dog (though I do that when busy too).

Peter Amorese

Peter Amorese

MS Student, peter.amorese@colorado.edu

I am a first year master’s student studying Aerospace Engineering with a focus on autonomous systems at the University of Colorado Boulder. I am passionate about theoretical problems in the field of autonomy and robotics. I received my BS degree from CU Boulder in Aerospace Engineering as well. My personal research is focused on synthesizing a high-level plan that efficiently satisfies a set of task preferences while respecting a user-defined priority for each task. My goal with this research is to extend the high-level reasoning capability of autonomous systems in scenarios where an agent is given multiple tasks to complete.

Alumni

Nicholas Renninger - MS, 2020

Akash Ratheesh Babu - MS, 2020

Richard Moon - MS, 2020

Daniel Mclucas Crook - Undergraduate, 2021