News & Events

1,495 News items, Awards, Events and Talks related to MERL and its staff.

  •  NEWS    MERL researchers presenting four papers and co-organizing a workshop at CVPR 2023
    Date: June 18, 2023 - June 22, 2023
    Where: Vancouver/Canada
    MERL Contacts: Anoop Cherian; Michael J. Jones; Suhas Lohit; Kuan-Chuan Peng
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning
    • MERL researchers are presenting 4 papers and co-organizing a workshop at the CVPR 2023 conference, which will be held in Vancouver, Canada June 18-22. CVPR is one of the most prestigious and competitive international conferences in computer vision. Details are provided below.

      1. “Are Deep Neural Networks SMARTer than Second Graders,” by Anoop Cherian, Kuan-Chuan Peng, Suhas Lohit, Kevin Smith, and Joshua B. Tenenbaum

      We present SMART: a Simple Multimodal Algorithmic Reasoning Task and the associated SMART-101 dataset for evaluating the abstraction, deduction, and generalization abilities of neural networks in solving visuo-linguistic puzzles designed for children in the 6-8 age group. Our experiments using SMART-101 reveal that powerful deep models are not better than random accuracy when analyzed for generalization. We also evaluate large language models (including ChatGPT) on a subset of SMART-101 and find that while these models show convincing reasoning abilities, their answers are often incorrect.


      2. “EVAL: Explainable Video Anomaly Localization,” by Ashish Singh, Michael J. Jones, and Erik Learned-Miller

      This work presents a method for detecting unusual activities in videos by building a high-level model of activities found in nominal videos of a scene. The high-level features used in the model are human understandable and include attributes such as the object class and the directions and speeds of motion. Such high-level features allow our method to not only detect anomalous activity but also to provide explanations for why it is anomalous.


      3. "Aligning Step-by-Step Instructional Diagrams to Video Demonstrations," by Jiahao Zhang, Anoop Cherian, Yanbin Liu, Yizhak Ben-Shabat, Cristian Rodriguez, and Stephen Gould

      The rise of do-it-yourself (DIY) videos on the web has made it possible even for an unskilled person (or a skilled robot) to imitate and follow instructions to complete complex real world tasks. In this paper, we consider the novel problem of aligning instruction steps that are depicted as assembly diagrams (commonly seen in Ikea assembly manuals) with video segments from in-the-wild videos. We present a new dataset: Ikea Assembly in the Wild (IAW) and propose a contrastive learning framework for aligning instruction diagrams with video clips.


      4. "HaLP: Hallucinating Latent Positives for Skeleton-Based Self-Supervised Learning of Actions," by Anshul Shah, Aniket Roy, Ketul Shah, Shlok Kumar Mishra, David Jacobs, Anoop Cherian, and Rama Chellappa

      In this work, we propose a new contrastive learning approach to train models for skeleton-based action recognition without labels. Our key contribution is a simple module, HaLP: Hallucinating Latent Positives for contrastive learning. HaLP explores the latent space of poses in suitable directions to generate new positives. Our experiments using HaLP demonstrates strong empirical improvements.


      The 4th Workshop on Fair, Data-Efficient, and Trusted Computer Vision

      MERL researcher Kuan-Chuan Peng is co-organizing the fourth Workshop on Fair, Data-Efficient, and Trusted Computer Vision ( in conjunction with CVPR 2023 on June 18, 2023. This workshop provides a focused venue for discussing and disseminating research in the areas of fairness, bias, and trust in computer vision, as well as adjacent domains such as computational social science and public policy.
  •  NEWS    Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Press Release Announces Worlds First GaN Power Amplifier Capable of Wideband Operation for 4G, 5G and Beyond 5G/6G.
    Date: June 8, 2023
    MERL Contacts: Toshiaki Koike-Akino; Koon Hoo Teo
    Research Areas: Communications, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Signal Processing
    • Mitsubishi Electric Corporation announced today it has developed what is believed to be the world's first gallium nitride (GaN) power amplifier that achieves a frequency range of 3,400MHz using a single power amplifier, which the company has demonstrated can be used for 4G, 5G and Beyond 5G/6G communication systems operating at different frequencies in a single base station. The amplifier is expected to enable the radio unit (transceiver) to be shared with different communication systems and lead to more power-efficient base stations.

      Mitsubishi Electric Researchers, Toshiaki Koike-Akino and Koon Hoo Teo helped developed the technology and device. Technical details will be presented at the IEEE International Microwave Symposium 2023 this month.

      Please see the link below for the full press release from Mitsubishi Electric.
  •  NEWS    Abraham Vinod gave an invited talk at the University of California Santa Cruz
    Date: June 8, 2023
    Where: Zoom
    MERL Contact: Abraham P. Vinod
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Dynamical Systems, Optimization, Robotics
    • Abraham Vinod gave an invited talk at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the University of California Santa Cruz, titled "Motion Planning under Constraints and Uncertainty using Data and Reachability". His presentation covered recent work on fast and safe motion planners that can allow for coordination among agents, mitigate uncertainty arising from sensing limitations and simplified models, and tolerate the possibility of failures.
  •  NEWS    Ankush Chakrabarty co-organized three sessions at the ACC2023, and was nominated for Best Energy Systems Paper.
    Date: June 30, 2023 - June 2, 2023
    Where: San Diego, CA
    MERL Contact: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics
    • Ankush Chakrabarty (researcher, Multiphysical Systems Team) co-organized and spoke at 3 sessions at the 2023 American Control Conference in San Diego, CA. These include: (1) A tutorial session (w/ Stefano Di Cairano) on "Physics Informed Machine Learning for Modeling and Control": an effort with contributions from multiple academic institutes and US research labs; (2) An invited session on "Energy Efficiency in Smart Buildings and Cities" in which his paper (w/ Chris Laughman) on "Local Search Region Constrained Bayesian Optimization for Performance Optimization of Vapor Compression Systems" was nominated for Best Energy Systems Paper Award; and, (3) A special session on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to improve recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in STEM research.
  •  AWARD    MERL Researchers Win Best Workshop Poster Award at the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
    Date: June 2, 2023
    Awarded to: Yuki Shirai, Devesh Jha, Arvind Raghunathan and Dennis Hong
    MERL Contacts: Devesh K. Jha; Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Optimization, Robotics
    • MERL's paper titled: "Closed-Loop Tactile Controller for Tool Manipulation" Won the Best Poster Award in the workshop on "Embracing contacts : Making robots physically interact with our world". First author and MERL intern, Yuki Shirai, was presented with the award at a ceremony held at ICRA in London. MERL researchers Devesh Jha, Principal Research Scientist, and Arvind Raghunathan, Senior Principal Research Scientist and Senior Team Leader as well as Prof. Dennis Hong of University of California, Los Angeles are also coauthors.

      The paper presents a technique to manipulate an object using a tool in a closed-loop fashion using vision-based tactile sensors. More information about the workshop and the various speakers can be found here
  •  NEWS    Abraham Vinod serves as a panelist at the Student Networking Event at American Control Conference 2023
    Date: June 1, 2023
    Where: San Diego, CA
    MERL Contact: Abraham P. Vinod
    Research Areas: Control, Optimization
    • The student networking event provides an opportunity for all interested students attending American Control Conference 2023 to receive career advice from professionals working in industry, academia, and national laboratories during a structured event. The event aims to provide an engaging experience to students that illustrates the benefits of involvement in the control community and encourage their continued participation as the future leaders in the field.
  •  NEWS    MERL researchers present 10 papers at the American Control Conference (ACC)
    Date: May 31, 2023 - June 2, 2023
    Where: San Diego, CA
    MERL Contacts: Karl Berntorp; Ankush Chakrabarty; Vedang M. Deshpande; Stefano Di Cairano; Marcus Greiff; Devesh K. Jha; Christopher R. Laughman; Rien Quirynen; Arvind Raghunathan; Diego Romeres; Abraham P. Vinod; Yebin Wang; Avishai Weiss
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Optimization
    • MERL will present 10 papers at the American Control Conference (ACC) in San Diego, CA, with topics including autonomous-vehicle decision making and control, physics-informed machine learning, motion planning, control subject to nonconvex chance constraints, and optimal power management. Two talks are part of tutorial sessions.
      MERL will also be present at the conference as a sponsor, with a booth for discussing with researchers and students, and hosting a special session at lunch with highlights of MERL research and work philosophy.
  •  NEWS    MERL Researchers Organize Two MiniSymposia and Five Invited Talks at the 2023 SIAM Conference on Optimization
    Date: May 31, 2023 - June 3, 2023
    Where: 2023 SIAM Conference on Optimization
    MERL Contacts: Devesh K. Jha; Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Control, Optimization, Robotics
    • Arvind Raghunathan, Senior Team Leader and Senior Principal Research Scientist in Optimization & Intelligent Robotics team, will organize two minisymposia at the 2023 SIAM Conference on Optimization to be held in Seattle from May 31 to June 3. The two minisymposia titled "Optimization in Control – Algorithms, Applications, and Software" and "New Algorithmic Techniques for Global Optimization" will feature twelve invited speakers from academia and national labs.

      Additionally, Arvind together with Devesh Jha, Principal Research Scientist in Optimization & Intelligent Robotics Team, and collaborators will present five invited talks covering the topics of algorithms for convex programs, multilinear programs, mixed-integer nonlinear programs, and robotics.

  •  NEWS    MERL Researchers Present Thirteen Papers at the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
    Date: May 29, 2023 - June 2, 2023
    Where: 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
    MERL Contacts: Anoop Cherian; Radu Corcodel; Siddarth Jain; Devesh K. Jha; Toshiaki Koike-Akino; Tim K. Marks; Daniel N. Nikovski; Arvind Raghunathan; Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    • MERL researchers will present thirteen papers, including eight main conference papers and five workshop papers, at the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) to be held in London, UK from May 29 to June 2. ICRA is one of the largest and most prestigious conferences in the robotics community. The papers cover a broad set of topics in Robotics including estimation, manipulation, vision-based object recognition and segmentation, tactile estimation and tool manipulation, robotic food handling, robot skill learning, and model-based reinforcement learning.

      In addition to the paper presentations, MERL robotics researchers will also host an exhibition booth and look forward to discussing our research with visitors.
  •  NEWS    MERL researchers presented four papers and organized a special session at The 14th IEEE International Electric Machines and Drives Conference
    Date: May 15, 2023 - May 18, 2023
    Where: San Francisco, CA
    MERL Contacts: Dehong Liu; Bingnan Wang
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Control, Electric Systems, Machine Learning, Optimization, Signal Processing
    • MERL researchers Yusuke Sakamoto, Anantaram Varatharajan, and
      Bingnan Wang presented four papers at IEMDC 2023 held May 15-18 in San Francisco, CA. The topics of the four oral presentations range from electric machine design optimization, to fault detection and sensorless control. Bingnan Wang organized a special session at the conference entitled: Learning-based Electric Machine Design and Optimization. Bingnan Wang and Yusuke Sakamoto together chaired the special session, as well as a session on: Condition Monitoring, Fault Diagnosis and Prognosis.

      The 14th IEEE International Electric Machines and Drives Conference: IEMDC 2023, is one of the major conferences in the area of electric machines and drives. The conference was established in 1997 and has taken place every two years thereafter.
  •  EVENT    MERL Contributes to ICASSP 2023
    Date: Sunday, June 4, 2023 - Saturday, June 10, 2023
    Location: Rhodes Island, Greece
    MERL Contacts: Petros T. Boufounos; Francois Germain; Toshiaki Koike-Akino; Jonathan Le Roux; Dehong Liu; Suhas Lohit; Yanting Ma; Hassan Mansour; Joshua Rapp; Anthony Vetro; Pu (Perry) Wang; Gordon Wichern
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computational Sensing, Machine Learning, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio
    • MERL has made numerous contributions to both the organization and technical program of ICASSP 2023, which is being held in Rhodes Island, Greece from June 4-10, 2023.


      Petros Boufounos is serving as General Co-Chair of the conference this year, where he has been involved in all aspects of conference planning and execution.

      Perry Wang is the organizer of a special session on Radar-Assisted Perception (RAP), which will be held on Wednesday, June 7. The session will feature talks on signal processing and deep learning for radar perception, pose estimation, and mutual interference mitigation with speakers from both academia (Carnegie Mellon University, Virginia Tech, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and industry (Mitsubishi Electric, Bosch, Waveye).

      Anthony Vetro is the co-organizer of the Workshop on Signal Processing for Autonomous Systems (SPAS), which will be held on Monday, June 5, and feature invited talks from leaders in both academia and industry on timely topics related to autonomous systems.


      MERL is proud to be a Silver Patron of the conference and will participate in the student job fair on Thursday, June 8. Please join this session to learn more about employment opportunities at MERL, including openings for research scientists, post-docs, and interns.

      MERL is pleased to be the sponsor of two IEEE Awards that will be presented at the conference. We congratulate Prof. Rabab Ward, the recipient of the 2023 IEEE Fourier Award for Signal Processing, and Prof. Alexander Waibel, the recipient of the 2023 IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award.

      Technical Program

      MERL is presenting 13 papers in the main conference on a wide range of topics including source separation and speech enhancement, radar imaging, depth estimation, motor fault detection, time series recovery, and point clouds. One workshop paper has also been accepted for presentation on self-supervised music source separation.

      Perry Wang has been invited to give a keynote talk on Wi-Fi sensing and related standards activities at the Workshop on Integrated Sensing and Communications (ISAC), which will be held on Sunday, June 4.

      Additionally, Anthony Vetro will present a Perspective Talk on Physics-Grounded Machine Learning, which is scheduled for Thursday, June 8.

      About ICASSP

      ICASSP is the flagship conference of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, and the world's largest and most comprehensive technical conference focused on the research advances and latest technological development in signal and information processing. The event attracts more than 2000 participants each year.
  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Prof. Mark Ku presents talk titled A beginner’s guide to quantum sensing illustrated with nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond
    Date & Time: Wednesday, May 17, 2023; 1:00 PM
    Speaker: Mark Ku, The University of Delaware
    MERL Host: Chungwei Lin
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Computational Sensing
    • Quantum technology holds potential for revolutionizing how information is processed, transmitted, and acquired. While quantum computation and quantum communication have been among the well-known examples of quantum technology, it is increasingly recognized that quantum sensing is the application with the most potential for immediate wide-spread practical utilization. In this talk, I will provide an overview of the field of quantum sensing with nitrogen vacancy (NV) centers in diamond as a specific example. I will introduce the physical system of NV and describe some basic quantum sensing protocols. Then, I will present some state-of-the-art and examples where quantum sensors such as NV can accomplish what traditional sensors cannot. Lastly, I will discuss potential future directions in the area of NV quantum sensing.
  •  NEWS    Arvind Raghunathan to Chair The 2022 Howard Rosenbrock Prize Committee
    Date: April 30, 2023
    MERL Contact: Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Area: Optimization
    • Arvind Raghunathan, Senior Team Leader and Senior Principal Research Scientist with Optimization and Intelligent Robotics team, will serve as the Chair of The 2022 Howard Rosenbrock Prize Committee. Every year, Optimization and Engineering (OPTE) journal honors excellence in scientific research by presenting the Rosenbrock Prize to the best paper published in the previous year. The prize recognizes outstanding research contributions that demonstrate Howard Rosenbrock’s own dedication to bridging the gap between optimization and engineering.
  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Prof. Dan Stowell presents talk titled Fine-grained wildlife sound recognition: Towards the accuracy of a naturalist
    Date & Time: Tuesday, April 25, 2023; 11:00 AM
    Speaker: Dan Stowell, Tilburg University / Naturalis Biodiversity Centre
    MERL Host: Gordon Wichern
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    • Machine learning can be used to identify animals from their sound. This could be a valuable tool for biodiversity monitoring, and for understanding animal behaviour and communication. But to get there, we need very high accuracy at fine-grained acoustic distinctions across hundreds of categories in diverse conditions. In our group we are studying how to achieve this at continental scale. I will describe aspects of bioacoustic data that challenge even the latest deep learning workflows, and our work to address this. Methods covered include adaptive feature representations, deep embeddings and few-shot learning.
  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Dr. Michael Muehlebach presents talk titled Learning and Dynamical Systems
    Date & Time: Tuesday, April 11, 2023; 11:00 AM
    Speaker: Michael Muehlebach, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    • The talk will be divided into two parts. The first part of the talk introduces a class of first-order methods for constrained optimization that are based on an analogy to non-smooth dynamical systems. The key underlying idea is to express constraints in terms of velocities instead of positions, which has the algorithmic consequence that optimizations over feasible sets at each iteration are replaced with optimizations over local, sparse convex approximations. This results is a simplified suite of algorithms and an expanded range of possible applications in machine learning. In the second part of my talk, I will present a robot learning algorithm for trajectory tracking. The method incorporates prior knowledge about the system dynamics and by optimizing over feedforward actions, the risk of instability during deployment is mitigated. The algorithm will be evaluated on a ping-pong playing robot that is actuated by soft pneumatic muscles.
  •  NEWS    Anthony Vetro appointed President & CEO of Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories
    Date: April 1, 2023
    MERL Contact: Anthony Vetro
    • Anthony Vetro has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL), the research and development arm for Mitsubishi Electric Corporation in the U.S. In his role, Vetro will oversee all aspects of the lab’s operations; manage and direct its long-term goals, growth and return on investment; and collaborate closely with Mitsubishi Electric’s research counterparts in Japan on advancing the company’s global smart society and sustainability initiatives.

      Vetro previously served as Vice President & Director of MERL. In this role, he contributed to the strategic direction of the company where he established new research programs and led teams in a variety of emerging technology areas. He succeeds Richard C. Waters, a founding MERL member, who was CEO for 24 years, and will continue as chairperson.

      “Anthony has played a significant role in shaping MERL’s evolution as a premier research lab that drives innovation across all of our U.S. business units,” said Mike Corbo, chief representative for the America’s region. “His leadership will further advance our long-term vision to integrate our cross-industry products, services and technologies, and enable the interconnection of people-centric technology and systems that will help realize a truly sustainable smart society.”

      Vetro began his MERL career in 1996, where he conducted research in the area of multimedia signal processing, with a focus on video compression. His research contributed to the transfer and development of several technologies that were integrated into Mitsubishi Electric products, including digital television receivers and displays, surveillance and camera monitoring systems, automotive equipment, as well as satellite imaging systems. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from New York University – Tandon School of Engineering and is an IEEE Fellow.

      “MERL celebrated its 30th Anniversary last year, where we recognized our many innovations and the people that made them possible,” said Vetro. “I’m looking forward to working even more closely with our teams to further strengthen relationships among our business units and serve as technological bridge for product innovation throughout the next 30 years and beyond.”
  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Prof. Zoltan Nagy presents talk titled Investigating Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning for Grid-Interactive Smart Communities using CityLearn
    Date & Time: Wednesday, March 29, 2023; 1:00 PM
    Speaker: Zoltan Nagy, The University of Texas at Austin
    MERL Host: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling
    • The decarbonization of buildings presents new challenges for the reliability of the electrical grid because of the intermittency of renewable energy sources and increase in grid load brought about by end-use electrification. To restore reliability, grid-interactive efficient buildings can provide flexibility services to the grid through demand response. Residential demand response programs are hindered by the need for manual intervention by customers. To maximize the energy flexibility potential of residential buildings, an advanced control architecture is needed. Reinforcement learning is well-suited for the control of flexible resources as it can adapt to unique building characteristics compared to expert systems. Yet, factors hindering the adoption of RL in real-world applications include its large data requirements for training, control security and generalizability. This talk will cover some of our recent work addressing these challenges. We proposed the MERLIN framework and developed a digital twin of a real-world 17-building grid-interactive residential community in CityLearn. We show that 1) independent RL-controllers for batteries improve building and district level KPIs compared to a reference RBC by tailoring their policies to individual buildings, 2) despite unique occupant behaviors, transferring the RL policy of any one of the buildings to other buildings provides comparable performance while reducing the cost of training, 3) training RL-controllers on limited temporal data that does not capture full seasonality in occupant behavior has little effect on performance. Although, the zero-net-energy (ZNE) condition of the buildings could be maintained or worsened because of controlled batteries, KPIs that are typically improved by ZNE condition (electricity price and carbon emissions) are further improved when the batteries are managed by an advanced controller.
  •  AWARD    Best Paper Award of 2022 IPSJ Transactions on Consumer Devices & Systems
    Date: March 27, 2023
    Awarded to: Yukimasa Nagai, Takenori Sumi, Jianlin Guo, Philip Orlik, Hiroshi Mineno
    MERL Contacts: Jianlin Guo; Philip V. Orlik; Kieran Parsons
    Research Areas: Communications, Signal Processing
    • MELCO/MERL research paper “IEEE 802.19.3 Standardization for Coexistence of IEEE 802.11ah and IEEE 802.15.4g Systems in Sub-1GHz Frequency Bands” has won the Best Paper Award of the 2022 IPSJ Transactions on Consumer Devices and Systems. The Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ) award was established in 1970 and is conferred on the authors of particularly excellent papers, which are published in the IPSJ journals and transactions. Our paper was published by the IPSJ Transaction on Consumer Device and System Vol. 29 in 2021 and authors are Yukimasa Nagai, Takenori Sumi, Jianlin Guo, Philip Orlik and Hiroshi Mineno.
  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Dr. Suraj Srinivas presents talk titled Pitfalls and Opportunities in Interpretable Machine Learning
    Date & Time: Tuesday, March 14, 2023; 1:00 PM
    Speaker: Suraj Srinivas, Harvard University
    MERL Host: Suhas Lohit
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning
    • In this talk, I will discuss our recent research on understanding post-hoc interpretability. I will begin by introducing a characterization of post-hoc interpretability methods as local function approximators, and the implications of this viewpoint, including a no-free-lunch theorem for explanations. Next, we shall challenge the assumption that post-hoc explanations provide information about a model's discriminative capabilities p(y|x) and instead demonstrate that many common methods instead rely on a conditional generative model p(x|y). This observation underscores the importance of being cautious when using such methods in practice. Finally, I will propose to resolve this via regularization of model structure, specifically by training low curvature neural networks, resulting in improved model robustness and stable gradients.
  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Prof. Shaowu Pan presents talk titled Neural Implicit Flow
    Date & Time: Wednesday, March 1, 2023; 1:00 PM
    Speaker: Shaowu Pan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    MERL Host: Saviz Mowlavi
    Research Areas: Computational Sensing, Data Analytics, Machine Learning
    • High-dimensional spatio-temporal dynamics can often be encoded in a low-dimensional subspace. Engineering applications for modeling, characterization, design, and control of such large-scale systems often rely on dimensionality reduction to make solutions computationally tractable in real-time. Common existing paradigms for dimensionality reduction include linear methods, such as the singular value decomposition (SVD), and nonlinear methods, such as variants of convolutional autoencoders (CAE). However, these encoding techniques lack the ability to efficiently represent the complexity associated with spatio-temporal data, which often requires variable geometry, non-uniform grid resolution, adaptive meshing, and/or parametric dependencies. To resolve these practical engineering challenges, we propose a general framework called Neural Implicit Flow (NIF) that enables a mesh-agnostic, low-rank representation of large-scale, parametric, spatial-temporal data. NIF consists of two modified multilayer perceptrons (MLPs): (i) ShapeNet, which isolates and represents the spatial complexity, and (ii) ParameterNet, which accounts for any other input complexity, including parametric dependencies, time, and sensor measurements. We demonstrate the utility of NIF for parametric surrogate modeling, enabling the interpretable representation and compression of complex spatio-temporal dynamics, efficient many-spatial-query tasks, and improved generalization performance for sparse reconstruction.
  •  TALK    Prof. Kevin Lynch presents talk titled Autonomous and Human-Collaborative Robotic Manipulation
    Date & Time: Tuesday, February 28, 2023; 12:00 PM
    Speaker: Prof. Kevin Lynch, Northwestern University
    MERL Host: Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Machine Learning, Robotics
    • Research at the Center for Robotics and Biosystems at Northwestern University includes bio-inspiration, neuromechanics, human-machine systems, and swarm robotics, among other topics. In this talk I will focus on our work on manipulation, including autonomous in-hand robotic manipulation and safe, intuitive human-collaborative manipulation among one or more humans and a team of mobile manipulators.
  •  NEWS    Jonathan Le Roux gives invited talk at CMU's Language Technology Institute Colloquium
    Date: December 9, 2022
    Where: Pittsburg, PA
    MERL Contact: Jonathan Le Roux
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    • MERL Senior Principal Research Scientist and Speech and Audio Senior Team Leader, Jonathan Le Roux, was invited by Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technology Institute (LTI) to give an invited talk as part of the LTI Colloquium Series. The LTI Colloquium is a prestigious series of talks given by experts from across the country related to different areas of language technologies. Jonathan's talk, entitled "Towards general and flexible audio source separation", presented an overview of techniques developed at MERL towards the goal of robustly and flexibly decomposing and analyzing an acoustic scene, describing in particular the Speech and Audio Team's efforts to extend MERL's early speech separation and enhancement methods to more challenging environments, and to more general and less supervised scenarios.
  •  NEWS    Rien Quirynen Appointed IPC Vice-Chair for the 8th IFAC Conference on NMPC 2024
    Date: August 27, 2024 - August 30, 2024
    Where: Kyoto, Japan
    MERL Contact: Rien Quirynen
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics
    • MERL researcher Rien Quirynen has been appointed as Vice-Chair from Industry of the International Program Committee of the 8th IFAC Conference on Nonlinear Model Predictive Control, which will be held in Kyoto, Japan, in August 2024.

      IFAC NMPC is the main symposium focused on model predictive control, theory, methods and applications, includes contributions on control, optimization, and machine learning research, and is held every 3 years.
  •  NEWS    Chris Laughman delivered two seminar talks for at the School of Engineering at Penn State
    Date: February 16, 2023 - February 17, 2023
    Where: Pennsylvania State University
    MERL Contact: Christopher R. Laughman
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling
    • On February 16 and 17, Chris Laughman, Senior Team Leader of the Multiphysical Systems Team, presented lectures for the Systems, Robotics, and Controls Seminar Series in the School of Engineering, and for the Distinguished Speaker Series in Architectural Engineering. His talk was titled "Architectural Thermofluid Systems: Next-Generation Challenges and Opportunities," and described characteristics of these systems that require specific attention in model-based system engineering processes, as well as MERL research to address these challenges.
  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2023] Prof. Stefanie Tellex presents talk titled Towards Complex Language in Partially Observed Environments
    Date & Time: Tuesday, February 14, 2023; 12:00 PM
    Speaker: Stefanie Tellex, Brown University
    MERL Host: Daniel N. Nikovski
    Research Area: Robotics
    • Robots can act as a force multiplier for people, whether a robot assisting an astronaut with a repair on the International Space station, a UAV taking flight over our cities, or an autonomous vehicle driving through our streets. Existing approaches use action-based representations that do not capture the goal-based meaning of a language expression and do not generalize to partially observed environments. The aim of my research program is to create autonomous robots that can understand complex goal-based commands and execute those commands in partially observed, dynamic environments. I will describe demonstrations of object-search in a POMDP setting with information about object locations provided by language, and mapping between English and Linear Temporal Logic, enabling a robot to understand complex natural language commands in city-scale environments. These advances represent steps towards robots that interpret complex natural language commands in partially observed environments using a decision theoretic framework.