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Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group

The DARPA Robotics Challenge and the Future of Robotics

Wyatt S. Newman, Ph.D. - Professor of Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering at Case Western Reserve University
Friday October 21, 2016
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

Way back in December of 2007, Professor Wyatt Newman came to the Friday Public Affairs Lunch and talked about the experience of Team Case and its automotive robot, "Dexter," in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge to create autonomous vehicles capable of driving in traffic.

A lot has happened in the world of "autonomous vehicles" since then, but Professor Newman and Case School of Engineering students and faculty have moved on to the latest DARPA challenge: humanoid robots that can respond to disasters. Last year CWRU and Hong Kong University sponsored one of 25 teams in the 2015 competition.

It turns out that some basic tasks like getting out of a car, walking up to a door, turning the handle and pushing it open are not so easy to program and engineer. Never mind standing up if the robot happens to fall down. No entry showed much promise of being useful in an emergency. So Popular Science called the 2015 Challenge "a bust." But it also reminded readers that the 2007 Urban Challenge showed real potential, and was only 3 years after much more discouraging results in a much simpler autonomous vehicle competition. What, then, are the prospects for robotics – both for the task DARPA defined, disaster response, and other tasks? Join us as Professor Newman returns to discuss the latest and possible future developments in the field.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest

Wyatt Newman is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Case Western Reserve University. He has experience in the design and control of intelligent machines, network and control theory, thermal and fluid sciences and the design and control of laser-based sensing, targeting and machining systems. Dr. Newman holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he concentrated in the design and control of dynamic systems. Dr. Newman earned his masters degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University and an additional masters degree from MIT in mechanical engineering. He is the inventor of 12 patents and has written over 120 technical publications as well as supervising over 75 graduate theses. Dr. Newman is a senior member of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and serves as the local chapter chair of IEEE Power and Energy Society.

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Our programs are open to all and no registration is required. We usually meet in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Schedule of Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

October 28: Macroeconomic Challenges for the Next Administration. With Mark S. Sniderman, Executive in Residence and Adjunct Professor of Economics, Weatherhead School of Management, and former Research Director, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

November 4: Biennial Political Science Department Pre-Election Forecast Discussion.

November 11: The Unrealized Promise of Libertarianism. With Gus Dizerega, Ph.D., independent political theorist.

November 18: Can Democracy Meet the Challenge of Polarization? With Mark Chupp, Assistant Professor, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Social Sciences.

November 25: Thanksgiving Break.

December 2: Putin's Russia. With Kelly M. McMann, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director, International Studies Program.

December 9: Health Care Report Cards – Time for Second Thoughts? With J.B. Silvers, John R. Mannix Medical Mutual of Ohio Professor of Health Care Finance.

October 17, 2016

If you would like to reply, submit items for inclusion, or not receive this weekly e-mail please send a notice to:

Upcoming Events

2016 Ubbelohde Lecture: What Ails Democracy?

A discussion with James T. Kloppenberg, Ph.D., Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard University, Thursday, November 3, 2016, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m., Tinkham Veale University Center, Ballroom C, 11038 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. Co-sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, Department of History, and the CWRU History Associates. Free and open to the public.

James T. Kloppenberg is one of the leading intellectual historians in the United States. Drawing from the work in his newest book, Toward Democracy: The Struggle for Self-Rule in European and American Thought, and his award-winning 2011 book, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition, he will help us consider the historical context of the American political tradition as we reach the culmination of a tumultuous political campaign.

Jordan’s Long War

A discussion with Pete Moore, Ph.D., M. A. Hanna Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Political Science, Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m., Clark Hall Room 206, 11130 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44106. Sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities. Free and open to the public.

Since its inception as a monarchy and a state during World War One, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has participated in or been linked to nearly every major war in the Middle East. From multiple Arab-Israeli wars to civil wars and through to today’s violent conflicts in Syria and Iraq, observers have often portrayed Jordan as “surviving” or “weathering” regional conflict. In his project, Pete Moore, M. A. Hanna Associate Professor of Political Science, charts a different political history of war in the Middle East. It seeks to understand how war making and war preparation have shaped the construction of the Jordanian state and its socio-economic development.

Pete Moore's research interests focus on economic development and state-society relations in the Middle East and Africa; specifically, Gulf Arab States and Levant; business-state relations, privatization, and decentralization; sub-state conflict and regional security. Professor Moore currently serves on the Editorial Board of Middle East Report and is a member of the Northeast Ohio Consortium for Middle East Studies.

October 2016







































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