Mon. Sep 25th, 2023
    Assistant Professor Ian Abraham Receives NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award for Robotics and Optimal Control Research

    Summary: Assistant Professor Ian Abraham from the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Yale University was recently awarded the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his exceptional work in robotics and optimal control theory. Unlike traditional approaches that rely on large amounts of data, Abraham focuses on developing algorithms that allow robots to generate information about their environment on their own and learn to perform tasks in new spaces. This approach, known as optimal control theory, enables robots to be both faster and more efficient, as well as adaptable in different environments. Abraham’s research aims to address the critical problem in robotics of robots’ inability to adapt to new situations, which often arise due to small changes in their environments. By implementing his optimal control theory approach, robots can learn to adapt and correct their motion based on real-time information rather than relying solely on pre-existing data.

    Abraham’s work has significant implications not only for the field of robotics but also for various industries that incorporate robotics technology. One potential application is in the development of robots that can walk on different surfaces. Instead of relying solely on pre-existing data to learn how to respond to environmental factors like friction and inclines, Abraham’s approach allows the robot to adapt and adjust its motion in real-time. For example, on ice, a robot implementing Abraham’s approach would initially struggle but would eventually learn to move more effectively by adjusting its gait, similar to how a human would.

    The NSF CAREER award is highly regarded within the academic community and is given to junior faculty members who show great potential in advancing their respective fields. Abraham’s achievement in receiving the award on his first attempt is commendable and highlights the significance of his research in an area that is not yet fully understood. As part of his responsibilities at Yale, Abraham teaches courses on the fundamentals of robot modeling and control, further contributing to the development and education of future robotics experts.

    – National Science Foundation (NSF)
    – Yale News