Petersen Receives NSF CAREER Award

Kirstin Petersen, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a U.S. National Science Foundation Early Career Development (NSF CAREER) Award from the Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS). The award supports her research proposal “Environmentally-Mediated Coordination in Natural and Robot Swarms” for a five-year period from 2021 through 2026 with a total amount of $520,490.

“Our project looks beyond robots working in parallel and towards actual swarm intelligence leveraging both explicit and implicit computation through software, morphology and embodiment into a shared environment,” Petersen said. “This type of distributed coordination has many facets and is still poorly understood.”

Petersen’s work will result in a model of swarms in dynamic environments that act to integrate, diffuse, decay, and filter information derived from characterization of a biological model system, as well as practical robot experiments.

Professor Alyssa Apsel, director of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, described the scope of the project in a congratulatory message. “Kirstin’s project will extend the concept of bio-inspired multi-robot systems operating in static environments to include dynamic environments, along with ways to deal with errors and hardware reliability. We are excited to celebrate another great achievement among our faculty.” 

The CAREER award is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

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