I am currently a researcher in the Special Projects Group at Apple, where my responsibilities include drafting the next generation iTunes Terms and Conditions, bringing back the 35mm headphone jack, and public service as the Cupertino gym leader.
Previously, I received my PhD in Robotics from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where I was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. My thesis was advised by Chris Atkeson (you might know him as the father of Baymax). At CMU, my research focused on motion planning and control theory as applied to humanoid robots, particularly in the areas of whole-body manipulation and bipedal locomotion. Translation - I was/am interested in enabling robots to make decisions, using tools such as optimization, machine learning, and game theory. Among other things, I was (in)famous for having the email address [email protected] - passed down from the late Mike Stilman.
Even further back in my academic life, I received dual-BS degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology when I was 19 years old. As an undergraduate in the Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, I worked on a variety of research projects such as decentralized multi-robot networks, autonomous driving for the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, and a crazy wheeled humanoid robot named Golem Krang. My research was jointly advised by (in the order of appearance) Magnus Egerstedt, Ayanna Howard, and Mike Stilman. I hold Tri-MS degrees in Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Robotics from GT and CMU, as well as the EIT certification from the Georgia State Board of Registration for Engineer & Land Surveyor. Gotta catch'em all. In my spare time, I've planned a New Frontiers-class mission at the Jet Propulsion Lab to probe small-bodies in our solar system and contributed over 100 articles to Wikipedia in robotics. I have an Erdős number of 4.
I am an accomplished landscape photographer. Since 2009, I have spent over 200 days traveling in Europe and photographed historical monuments in more than 130 cities. From the graves of kings at Westminster to the footsteps of Casanova down the Grand Canal, Europe is my raison d'être. In 2012, my photo of the Zaragoza Cathedral took the 7th place in the WLM photography competition, currently holds the Guinness World Record as the largest photography competition ever held in history with over 350,000 submissions. My work has been exhibited in the Netherlands, Russia, Panama, Britain, Sweden, Spain, Philippines, Hong Kong, and Germany, as well as appeared in publications such as National Geographic Russia, Popular Mechanics, Nature, and Bloomberg. Most of my photographs are freely available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use.
I grew up near the ancient walls of Khanbaliq, built in the 13th century by Kublai Khan, forming the earliest layout of the city currently known as Beijing. According to a recent DNA test, my paternal haplogroup, C-M217, makes me a direct patrilineal descendant of Genghis Khan. That's right, I have 35 million cousins. In my formative years, I wrote poems in the Tang Dynasty style of Jueju and collected recordings by Wilhelm Furtwängler. Independent of my scientific pursuits, I remain a devoted humanist and have broad interests in the study of the arts, particularly in classical European paintings, sculptures, and musicology. I enjoy reading literary works from the Western Canon, especially versed dramas and narrative poems. Works by Wagner, Shakespeare, and the pre-Raphaelites are among my favorite things in life.
If you are dazzled enough by this whirlwind introduction and think we might have an interesting discussion on any aspects of life including mundane topics such as life in the valley, feel free to contact me. Let's talk. If you decide to email me, do use the subject "π/2" to avoid my spam filter.