News & Events

78 News items, Awards, Events or Talks found.



Learn about the MERL Seminar Series.



  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2022] Prof. Michael Posa presents talk titled Hybrid robotics and implicit learning
    Date & Time: Tuesday, May 3, 2022; 1:00 PM
    Speaker: Michael Posa, University of Pennsylvania
    MERL Host: Devesh K. Jha
    Research Areas: Control, Optimization, Robotics
    Abstract
    • Machine learning has shown incredible promise in robotics, with some notable recent demonstrations in manipulation and sim2real transfer. These results, however, require either an accurate a priori model (for simulation) or a large amount of data. In contrast, my lab is focused on enabling robots to enter novel environments and then, with minimal time to gather information, accomplish complex tasks. In this talk, I will argue that the hybrid or contact-driven nature of real-world robotics, where a robot must safely and quickly interact with objects, drives this high data requirement. In particular, the inductive biases inherent in standard learning methods fundamentally clash with the non-differentiable physics of contact-rich robotics. Focusing on model learning, or system identification, I will show both empirical and theoretical results which demonstrate that contact stiffness leads to poor training and generalization, leading to some healthy skepticism of simulation experiments trained on artificially soft environments. Fortunately, implicit learning formulations, which embed convex optimization problems, can dramatically reshape the optimization landscape for these stiff problems. By carefully reasoning about the roles of stiffness and discontinuity, and integrating non-smooth structures, we demonstrate dramatically improved learning performance. Within this family of approaches, ContactNets accurately identifies the geometry and dynamics of a six-sided cube bouncing, sliding, and rolling across a surface from only a handful of sample trajectories. Similarly, a piecewise-affine hybrid system with thousands of modes can be identified purely from state transitions. Time permitting, I'll discuss how these learned models can be deployed for control via recent results in real-time, multi-contact MPC.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2022] Prof. Sebastien Gros presents talk titled RLMPC: An Ideal Combination of Formal Optimal Control and Reinforcement Learning?
    Date & Time: Tuesday, April 12, 2022; 11:00 AM EDT
    Speaker: Sebastien Gros, NTNU
    MERL Host: Rien Quirynen
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Optimization
    Abstract
    • Reinforcement Learning (RL), similarly to many AI-based techniques, is currently receiving a very high attention. RL is most commonly supported by classic Machine Learning techniques, i.e. typically Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). While there are good motivations for using DNNs in RL, there are also significant drawbacks. The lack of “explainability” of the resulting control policies, and the difficulty to provide guarantees on their closed-loop behavior (safety, stability) makes DNN-based policies problematic in many applications. In this talk, we will discuss an alternative approach to support RL, via formal optimal control tools based on Model Predictive Control (MPC). This approach alleviates the issues detailed above, but also presents some challenges. In this talk, we will discuss why MPC is a valid tool to support RL, and how MPC can be combined with RL (RLMPC). We will then discuss some recent results regarding this combination, the known challenges, and the kind of control applications where we believe that RLMPC will be a valuable approach.
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  •  NEWS    Rien Quirynen appointed as an Associate Editor for Journal of Optimal Control Applications and Methods (OCAM)
    Date: February 24, 2022
    MERL Contact: Rien Quirynen
    Research Areas: Control, Optimization
    Brief
    • Rien Quirynen has accepted an invitation to serve on the editorial board of Journal of Optimal Control Applications and Methods (OCAM) as an Associate Editor.

      OCAM provides a forum for papers on the full range of optimal control and related control design methods. The aim is to encourage new developments in optimal control theory and design methodologies that may lead to advances in real control applications.
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  •  NEWS    Dr. Benosman is invited to give the mini-course in control theory at the 2022 edition of the Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control
    Date: July 5, 2022 - July 7, 2022
    MERL Contact: Mouhacine Benosman
    Research Areas: Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems
    Brief
    • The Benelux meeting is an annual conference gathering of the scientific community of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg around systems and control. It is especially intended for PhD researchers and a number of activities are dedicated to them, including plenary talks and a mini-course.

      Dr. Benosman has been invited to give the mini-course of the 2022 edition of the conference. This course, entitled 'A hybrid approach to control: classical control theory meets machine learning theory', will be centered around the topic of safe and robust machine learning-based control.
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  •  NEWS    Uroš Kalabić joins editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology
    Date: December 14, 2021
    Research Area: Control
    Brief
    • MERL researcher Uroš Kalabić has been appointed to serve as an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology.

      The Transactions on Control Systems Technology bridge the gap between the theory and practice of control engineering. They feature publications on engineering needed to implement practical control systems.
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  •  EVENT    Prof. Melanie Zeilinger of ETH to give keynote at MERL's Virtual Open House
    Date & Time: Thursday, December 9, 2021; 1:00pm - 5:30pm EST
    Location: Virtual Event
    Speaker: Prof. Melanie Zeilinger, ETH
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio, Digital Video, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Security
    Brief
    • MERL is excited to announce the second keynote speaker for our Virtual Open House 2021:
      Prof. Melanie Zeilinger from ETH .

      Our virtual open house will take place on December 9, 2021, 1:00pm - 5:30pm (EST).

      Join us to learn more about who we are, what we do, and discuss our internship and employment opportunities. Prof. Zeilinger's talk is scheduled for 3:15pm - 3:45pm (EST).

      Registration: https://mailchi.mp/merl/merlvoh2021

      Keynote Title: Control Meets Learning - On Performance, Safety and User Interaction

      Abstract: With increasing sensing and communication capabilities, physical systems today are becoming one of the largest generators of data, making learning a central component of autonomous control systems. While this paradigm shift offers tremendous opportunities to address new levels of system complexity, variability and user interaction, it also raises fundamental questions of learning in a closed-loop dynamical control system. In this talk, I will present some of our recent results showing how even safety-critical systems can leverage the potential of data. I will first briefly present concepts for using learning for automatic controller design and for a new safety framework that can equip any learning-based controller with safety guarantees. The second part will then discuss how expert and user information can be utilized to optimize system performance, where I will particularly highlight an approach developed together with MERL for personalizing the motion planning in autonomous driving to the individual driving style of a passenger.
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  •  EVENT    Prof. Ashok Veeraraghavan of Rice University to give keynote at MERL's Virtual Open House
    Date & Time: Thursday, December 9, 2021; 1:00pm - 5:30pm EST
    Location: Virtual Event
    Speaker: Prof. Ashok Veeraraghavan, Rice University
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio, Digital Video, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Security
    Brief
    • MERL is excited to announce the first keynote speaker for our Virtual Open House 2021:
      Prof. Ashok Veeraraghavan from Rice University.

      Our virtual open house will take place on December 9, 2021, 1:00pm - 5:30pm (EST).

      Join us to learn more about who we are, what we do, and discuss our internship and employment opportunities. Prof. Veeraraghavan's talk is scheduled for 1:15pm - 1:45pm (EST).

      Registration: https://mailchi.mp/merl/merlvoh2021

      Keynote Title: Computational Imaging: Beyond the limits imposed by lenses.

      Abstract: The lens has long been a central element of cameras, since its early use in the mid-nineteenth century by Niepce, Talbot, and Daguerre. The role of the lens, from the Daguerrotype to modern digital cameras, is to refract light to achieve a one-to-one mapping between a point in the scene and a point on the sensor. This effect enables the sensor to compute a particular two-dimensional (2D) integral of the incident 4D light-field. We propose a radical departure from this practice and the many limitations it imposes. In the talk we focus on two inter-related research projects that attempt to go beyond lens-based imaging.

      First, we discuss our lab’s recent efforts to build flat, extremely thin imaging devices by replacing the lens in a conventional camera with an amplitude mask and computational reconstruction algorithms. These lensless cameras, called FlatCams can be less than a millimeter in thickness and enable applications where size, weight, thickness or cost are the driving factors. Second, we discuss high-resolution, long-distance imaging using Fourier Ptychography, where the need for a large aperture aberration corrected lens is replaced by a camera array and associated phase retrieval algorithms resulting again in order of magnitude reductions in size, weight and cost. Finally, I will spend a few minutes discussing how the wholistic computational imaging approach can be used to create ultra-high-resolution wavefront sensors.
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  •  EVENT    MERL Virtual Open House 2021
    Date & Time: Thursday, December 9, 2021; 100pm-5:30pm (EST)
    Location: Virtual Event
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio, Digital Video, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Security
    Brief
    • Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories cordially invites you to join our Virtual Open House, on December 9, 2021, 1:00pm - 5:30pm (EST).

      The event will feature keynotes, live sessions, research area booths, and time for open interactions with our researchers. Join us to learn more about who we are, what we do, and discuss our internship and employment opportunities.

      Registration: https://mailchi.mp/merl/merlvoh2021
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  •  NEWS    Ankush Chakrabarty gave an invited talk at CRAN: Centre de Recherche en Automatique de Nancy, France
    Date: October 21, 2021
    Where: Université de Lorraine, France
    MERL Contact: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization
    Brief
    • Ankush Chakrabarty (RS, Multiphysical Systems Team) gave an invited talk on `Bayesian-Optimized Estimation and Control for Buildings and HVAC' at the Research Center for Automatic Control (CRAN) in the University of Lorraine in France. The talk presented recent MERL research on probabilistic machine learning for set-point optimization and calibration of digital twins for building energy systems.
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  •  NEWS    Diego Romeres appointed as Associate Editor at ICRA 2022.
    Date: September 17, 2021 - October 31, 2021
    MERL Contact: Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Diego Romeres, a Principal Research Scientist in MERL's Data Analytics group, is serving as an Associate Editor (AE) for the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2022.
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  •  NEWS    Anthony Vetro delivers keynote on robotic manipulation at inaugural IEEE Conference on Autonomous Systems
    Date: August 12, 2021
    MERL Contact: Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Control, Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Anthony Vetro gave a keynote at the inaugural IEEE Conference on Autonomous Systems (ICAS), which was held virtually from August 11-13, 2021. The talk focused on challenges and recent progress in the area of robotic manipulation. The conference is sponsored by IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) through the SPS Autonomous Systems Initiative.

      Abstract: Human-level manipulation continues to be beyond the capabilities of today’s robotic systems. Not only do current industrial robots require significant time to program a specific task, but they lack the flexibility to generalize to other tasks and be robust to changes in the environment. While collaborative robots help to reduce programming effort and improve the user interface, they still fall short on generalization and robustness. This talk will highlight recent advances in a number of key areas to improve the manipulation capabilities of autonomous robots, including methods to accurately model the dynamics of the robot and contact forces, sensors and signal processing algorithms to provide improved perception, optimization-based decision-making and control techniques, as well as new methods of interactivity to accelerate and enhance robot learning.
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  •  NEWS    Rien Quirynen and Karl Berntorp to deliver keynote at IFAC NMPC 2021 Conference
    Date: July 12, 2021
    MERL Contacts: Karl Berntorp; Rien Quirynen
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Optimization
    Brief
    • MERL researcher Rien Quirynen will present work in collaboration with Karl Berntorp on "Uncertainty Propagation by Linear Regression Kalman Filters for Stochastic Nonlinear MPC" as a keynote speaker at the 7th IFAC Conference on Nonlinear Model Predictive Control 2021 on July, 12th. The paper is 1 out of 5 keynote presentations chosen among more than 50 accepted papers at the conference. An abstract of the talk can be found in the link below.
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  •  NEWS    Karl Berntorp gave an invited lecture at University of Houston
    Date: April 22, 2021
    Where: Houston, Texas
    MERL Contact: Karl Berntorp
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Robotics, Signal Processing
    Brief
    • The invited seminar "System Design, Planning, and Control for Autonomous Driving" was part of the Distinguished Seminar series at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston, Houston, Tx. The invited lecture described MERL research related to the different system components involved in autonomous driving, with particular focus on motion-planning and predictive-control methods.
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  •  NEWS    Ankush Chakrabarty gave an invited talk at University of Illinois at Chicago
    Date: April 9, 2021
    MERL Contact: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization
    Brief
    • Ankush Chakrabarty, a Research Scientist at MERL's Multiphysical Systems (MS) Team, gave an invited talk on "Learning for Control and Estimation using Digital Twins" at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Seminar Series organized at UIC. The talk proposed new learning-based control/estimation architectures that can utilize simulation data obtained from digital twins to add self-optimization and constraint-enforcement features to grey/black-box control systems.
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  •  NEWS    Karl Berntorp gave an invited lecture at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Linköping University
    Date: April 6, 2021
    Where: Linköping University, Sweden
    MERL Contact: Karl Berntorp
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL researcher Karl Berntorp was invited to give a lecture in the ELLIIT PhD course "Motion Planning and Control" at the Division of Vehicular Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Linköping University. The course is open for Ph.D. students as well as senior undergraduate students, and covers both fundamental algorithms and state-of-the-art methods for motion planning and control. The invited lecture described MERL research on the use of invariant sets for safe motion planning and control, with application to autonomous vehicles.
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  •  NEWS    Stefano Di Cairano joins the Editorial Board of IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Vehicles
    Date: March 7, 2021
    MERL Contact: Stefano Di Cairano
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Robotics
    Brief
    • Stefano Di Cairano has joined the Editorial Board of the IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Vehicles (T-IV) as an Associate Editor. The IEEE T-IV publishes peer-reviewed articles in the area of intelligent vehicles in a roadway environment, and in particular in automated vehicles. While primarily led by the IEEE ITS Society, IEEE T-IV is an IEEE multi-society journal.
      As Associate Editor Stefano will be responsible for the review process of some of the papers submitted to T-IV and will work with the Editorial Board to monitor the status and continuously strengthen the journal.
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  •  EVENT    MERL Virtual Open House 2020
    Date & Time: Wednesday, December 9, 2020; 1:00-5:00PM EST
    Location: Virtual
    MERL Contacts: Elizabeth Phillips; Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio
    Brief
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  •  NEWS    Karl Berntorp gave an invited lecture at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Linkoping University
    Date: October 8, 2020
    Where: Linkoping University
    MERL Contact: Karl Berntorp
    Research Areas: Control, Dynamical Systems, Robotics, Signal Processing
    Brief
    • MERL researcher Karl Berntorp was invited to give a lecture in the class "Autonomous vehicles – planning, control, and learning systems" at the Division of Vehicular Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Linkoping University. The course is for the engineering-program students at Linkoping University and gives a basic understanding of the available models, methods, and software libraries to work on autonomous vehicles, with particular focus on motion-planning and control methods. The invited lecture described the different system components and design of motion planning and predictive control methods targeted to autonomous driving.
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  •  AWARD    Best Student Paper Award at the IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications
    Date: August 26, 2020
    Awarded to: Marcus Greiff, Anders Robertsson, Karl Berntorp
    MERL Contacts: Karl Berntorp; Marcus Greiff
    Research Areas: Control, Signal Processing
    Brief
    • Marcus Greiff, a former MERL intern from the Department of Automatic Control, Lund University, Sweden, won one of three 2020 CCTA Outstanding Student Paper Awards and the Best Student Paper Award at the 2020 IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications. The research leading up to the awarded paper titled 'MSE-Optimal Measurement Dimension Reduction in Gaussian Filtering', concerned how to select a reduced set of measurements in estimation applications while minimally degrading performance, was done in collaboration with Karl Berntorp at MERL.
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  •  NEWS    MERL Researcher Ankush Chakrabarty organized a special session on data-driven control at IEEE CCTA 2020
    Date: August 25, 2020
    MERL Contact: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Ankush Chakrabarty co-organized an invited session on “Data-Driven Control For Industrial Applications” at the IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications with Shahin Shahrampour (Asst. Prof., Texas A&M). Talks covered topics including reinforcement learning for aerospace systems, constrained reinforcement learning for motors, deep Q learning for traffic systems and participants included speakers from Stanford University, North Carolina State University, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State University, University of Science and Technology at Beijing, and TU Delft.

      MERL presented research (Chakrabarty, Danielson, Wang) on constraint-enforcing output-tracking with approximate dynamic programming for servomotor systems.
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  •  NEWS    Dr. Abraham P. Vinod joins the Research Staff of Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories
    Date: August 3, 2020
    Where: Cambridge, MA
    MERL Contact: Abraham P. Vinod
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories is excited to welcome Abraham P. Vinod as the newest member of its research staff, in the Control for Autonomy Team. Abraham joins MERL from the University of Texas, Austin, where he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. His PhD research produced scalable algorithms for providing safety guarantees for stochastic, control-constrained, dynamical systems, with applications to motion planning. In his postdoctoral research, Abraham studied theory and algorithms for on-the-fly, data-driven control of unknown systems under severely limited data. His current research interests lie in the intersection of optimization, control, and learning. Abraham won the Best Student Paper Award at the 2017 ACM Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control Conference, was a finalist for the Best Paper Award in the 2018 ACM Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control Conference, and won the best undergraduate student research project award at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
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  •  NEWS    MERL researchers presented 10 papers at American Control Conference (ACC)
    Date: July 1, 2020 - July 3, 2020
    Where: Denver, Colorado (virtual)
    MERL Contacts: Mouhacine Benosman; Karl Berntorp; Ankush Chakrabarty; Stefano Di Cairano; Saleh Nabi; Rien Quirynen; Yebin Wang; Avishai Weiss
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Optimization
    Brief
    • At the American Control Conference, MERL presented 10 papers on subjects including autonomous-vehicle decision making and motion planning, nonlinear estimation for thermal-fluid models and GNSS positioning, learning-based reference governors and reference governors for railway vehicles, and fail-safe rendezvous control.
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  •  NEWS    Stefano Di Cairano Appointed IPC Vice-Chair for the 7th IFAC Symposium on NMPC (2021)
    Date: July 7, 2021 - July 14, 2021
    Where: Bratislava, Slovakia
    MERL Contact: Stefano Di Cairano
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Optimization
    Brief
    • MERL researcher Stefano Di Cairano has been appointed as Vice-Chair for Industry of the International Program Committee of the 7th IFAC Symposium on Nonlinear Model Predictive Control, which will be held in Bratislava, Slovakia, in July 2021.
      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.
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  •  NEWS    Ankush Chakrabarty appointed as an Associate Editor for CDC 2020
    Date: December 8, 2020 - December 11, 2020
    Where: IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC)
    MERL Contact: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Control, Optimization
    Brief
    • Ankush Chakrabarty, a Research Scientist in MERL's Multi-Physical Systems, will be serving as an Associate Editor at the 2020 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC).
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  •  NEWS    Dr. Benosman joins the editorial board of the IEEE Control Systems Letters (L-CSS)
    Date: February 10, 2020
    MERL Contact: Mouhacine Benosman
    Research Areas: Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems
    Brief
    • Dr. Benosman has been nominated as an associate editor at the IEEE Control Systems Letters (L-CSS).

      The L-CSS publishes peer-reviewed brief articles that provide a rapid and concise account of innovative ideas regarding the theory, design, and applications of all aspects of control engineering.
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