VSCL is proud to welcome four new Ph.D. graduate research assistants:
Ian Holmes is a Ph.D. student in the aerospace engineering department, and inaugural recipient of the Department of Aerospace Engineering National EXcellence in Aerospace Sciences (NEXAS) Fellowship. He graduated in May 2021 from the California State University, Long Beach with a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering with an emphasis in Astronautics. During his undergraduate studies, he spent three years participating in the BUILD program as an NIH-funded research assistant focused on experimental and computational high-speed impact testing. He completed his engineering honors thesis on developing computational strategies using smoothed particle hydrodynamics to simulate bird strike impacts in commercial aviation.
MD-Nazmus Sunbeam is a Ph.D. student in the aerospace engineering department. He will graduate in May 2021 from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering. During his undergraduate studies, Sunbeam worked on making a chess AI by training neural nets through evolutionary algorithms using NEAT. Additionally, he assembled and configured quadcopters, using the drone footage to train object detection neural nets. He has experience implementing convolutional neural nets on different image classification and speech recognition problems. His research interests are AI/ML/robotics. In the fall at VSCL, Sunbeam will research Enhancing the Cycle-of-Learning for Autonomous Systems to Facilitate Human-Agent Teaming, which is sponsored by the Army Research Laboratory.
Ravi Kumar Thakur is a Ph.D. student in the aerospace engineering department. His interest is in the field of aerospace robotics and autonomy. He graduated with an MS(Research) degree in Electronics and Communication from the Indian Institute of Information Technology Sri City, Chittoor in 2019. For his thesis, he worked on developing machine learning-based models for estimating scene flow from stereo images. He earned his BS in Engineering Physics from National Institute of Technology Calicut in 2014. In the past, he was a machine learning engineer at Ford Motor Company, where he worked on driver assistant technology with a focus on visual odometry and object tracking. Before that, he worked at the Indian Institute of science working on the development of an endoscopy simulator. At VSCL, Thakur will be working on the project Enhancing the Cycle-of-Learning for Autonomous Systems to Facilitate Human-Agent Teaming which is sponsored by Army Research Laboratory.
David van Wijk is a Ph.D. student in the aerospace engineering department, funded by the College of Engineering Graduate Merit Fellowship. He will graduate in May of 2021 from Cornell University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Sibley school of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. During his undergraduate studies, van Wijk was an active member in the Laboratory for Intelligent Systems and Controls under Professor Ferrari, concentrating on classical control for quadrotors, object detection, and mapping. His research contributed to a paper on Visibility-based Directional Sensor Path Planning submitted to IEEE Transactions on Robotics. He also interned at Northrop Grumman Remotec, focusing on mechanical design of hazardous duty robotic vehicles. He is interested in robotics, autonomous systems, and machine learning.